RICE FARMS bounded by coconut trees in Davao Oriental. — BW FILE PHOTO

DAVAO ORIENTAL, which recently bagged 10 of 23 regional agri-fishery awards from the Department of Agriculture, is focusing on improving mechanization to increase output, particularly for rice and coconut.
“Today, our direction is towards mechanization of our farming system, putting a premium on post-harvest and value-adding, and upscaling the science in our methodologies so that we can sustain production and even make it at par with if not better than our ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian) neighbors,” Gov. Nelson L. Dayanghirang said during the Gawad Saka awarding ceremonies on May 31 in Davao City.
“Before, our priority target is to reach out to as many farmers and fishermen as possible to achieve the greatest volume; now we want to not only reach out to more but to be able to raise the best crops by making them work effectively in commune with other members of their respective community,” Mr. Dayanghirang added, citing the provincial government’s Sustainable Agriculture Village Enterprise or ‘SAVE’ program as the industry framework.
The province, where almost 90% of the jobs are in agriculture, is the biggest coconut producer in the region and contributes an average of 7.4% to the country’s total production with an annual output of more than one billion nuts, according to provincial data.
Rice is another main crop in Davao Oriental, with 8 of the 11 municipalities engaged in rice production.
Other farm commodities are corn, mango, banana, root crops, and rubber.
Among the province’s Gawad Saka awardees were Edna Deypalubos, outstanding rice farmer; Conde Mascardo, outstanding fish culture (aquaculture fisheries); Betty More, outstanding coconut farmer; and
Tandang Sora BFT, outstanding Barangay Food Terminal non-local government unit category. — Carmelito Q. Francisco