Cassava output up in ARMM

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News -

COTABATO CITY – Cassava production in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) continues to rise due to a growing domestic industrial demand, the regional office of the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAF-ARMM) said.

Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority covering the 1st quarter of 2017, Northern Mindanao was on top among cassava-producing regions with 189.41 thousand metric tons annual harvest, or 32.1% of the national output. ARMM came next with 16.9% and Cagayan Valley with 16.6%.

Dr. Albert Usman, regional cassava coordinator of the DAF-ARMM, said the provinces of Lanao Del Sur and Maguindanao are the top cassava producers in the region. The two provinces’ harvest is sold mainly for industrial consumption.

Cassava from Basilan and Tawi-tawi is generally used for food, the DAFARMM official said, noting that cassava is considered a crop with high economic potential that can have a significant contribution to the region’s agricultural output.

He said cassava is regarded as the third most important food crop in the tropics, after rice and corn. Valued by small-scale farmers for its tolerance to drought and infertile soil, the crop is essentially ecoefficient.

Dr. Usman also emphasized that DAF-ARMM, through its Gender and Development (GAD) unit, has conducted a series of training sessions on cassava food processing in Talayan, Guindulungan and Sultan Mastura towns in Maguindanao.

Such training, he added, could expand the livelihood opportunities for residents in rural communities and at the same time boost the production of the crop in the region. The training focuses on improving the lives of lessfavored sectors of the rural population by means of utilizing available farm crops, like cassava, which is abundant in the region’s agricultural areas.

The participants were taught how to make cassava cake, cassava jelly, cassava puto taktak, and other cassava-based products and delicacies. The program also caters to the needs of the farmers such as giving machinery and cassava graters.

GAD focal person Ramla Macatabang said the training is also geared at empowering women and youth to gain basic skills in cassava food processing for entrepreneurial activities, increase their productivity, and to improve family income.

Based on DAF-ARMM data, the training program attracted 148 active participants in the towns of Talayan, Guindulungan, as well as in Sultan Mastura. The training program is currently implemented in the provinces of Maguindanao, Tawi-tawi and Basilan.

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