THE BPI Foundation and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines said that its P10-million partnership has helped boosted sugarcane farming productivity in Negros Occidental from the previous 40 to 60 tons average per hectare to current 80 to 100 tons per hectare.
The project, known as Climate-Proofing Agricultural Landscapes (AgriClima) which is now on its second year, is focused on small sugarcane farmers in Negros Occidental, aims to establish agricultural production that is climate-resilient and will eventually raise farm incomes.
“The project intends to achieve higher productivity and efficiency in local farming, without compromising (natural) resources that we put into production, and of course to make the production cycle less vulnerable to climate change effects. With sugarcane production, the demonstration farms that were established showed significant increase in the tonnage harvested from 40 to 60 tons average per hectare, to around 80 to 100 tons. It is the hope of the program that upon the expansion of the pilot demonstration farm, putting in place the technologies introduced, we achieve the same level of productivity, or even higher,” BPI Foundation Executive Director Maricris L. San Diego said in an e-mail interview.
Ms. San Diego said that currently, AgriClima is focused on small sugarcane farmers in Negros Occidental, and its goal is to introduce climate-smart technologies to develop resiliency in agricultural production, and hopes to expand it soon to other areas.
Ms. San Diego noted that part of the partnership project is the facilitation of information education campaigns and tree-planting around Mt. Kanlaon which is an important watershed.
Negros accounts for 60% of Philippine sugarcane production, with about 240,000 hectares planted to cane against 400,000 nationwide.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, sugarcane output fell 26.2% year-on-year to 6.44 million metric tons in the three months to June.
The decrease was due to the reduction of sugarcane planting areas in the Western Visayas in response to low prices; smaller cane because of reduced fertilizer use in Central Visayas; and the early cut-off of milling operations in Northern Mindanao. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio