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By: Mylen Manto | Published Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Feed millers in northern Cebu committed to purchase farmers’ harvests once Cebu Province’s enhanced community development (ECD) program starts rolling. (Junjie Mendoza)

Even before people could start going into agricultural production as a result of the COVID-induced shift into agriculture, buyers are ready to take in future corn harvests.

That, as the sugar bowl of Cebu expressed readiness to shift into corn production instead of continuing the decades-old sugarcane industry in northern Cebu.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia got the commitment of 11 out of 12 feed millers in Cebu to purchase the farmers’ harvest once Cebu Province’s enhanced community development (ECD) program will start rolling. Corn is used as a raw material for producing hog feeds.

Garcia met the feed millers and the Central Visayas Pork Producers Cooperative (CeViPPCo) on Tuesday, May 26, as the Province of Cebu is poised to graduate from general community quarantine (GCQ). Garcia is pushing for  modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status for Cebu Province, or low-risk, when the general quarantine status (GCQ) ends on May 31.

The ECD is a program initiated by Garcia to bring the opportunities away from urban centers and back to the countryside. 

“We will focus on the countryside. So, the production of corn will be one of the major programs we will be promoting,” Garcia said.

Of the 12 feed millers in Cebu, 11 were present in the meeting and committed to the governor. They expressed their full cooperation to the Capitol’s program.

Because of the pandemic, Garcia realized that Cebu is not self-sufficient in terms of rice and corn production and seeks to address this.

Three government banks – LandBank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines and the Philippine Veterans Bank – agreed to create a common fund of P20 billion that will finance the program for a self-sufficient Cebu.

Feed millers usually get their supplies of corn, a main component of their production, from Mindanao and other countries. With that, Garcia asked them for the total volume of corn that they will be needing. 

“This is very possible because the soil is conducive for the planting of corn,” Garcia said. She earlier met with the different chambers of commerce in Cebu where she challenged them to change gears: shift to agri-business instead of focusing on real estate.

Medellin and Bogo City wish to shift from sugarcane production to corn production, Garcia revealed.

If the collaboration will pushed through between the Cebu Provincial Government and the millers, this will eliminate the middlemen who usually have a big cut in the transaction between the farmers and the feed millers.  

“If nana nay production we can agree on the price. We will eliminate the middlemen para to be fair to both farmer and the feed miller,” she said. 

The Province will also guarantee the quality of the corn. The Capitol will not benefit out of the arrangement but will be helping the farmers to earn. 

Rolando Tambago and Paul Holaysan, the outgoing and incoming president of CeViPPCo,  assured the governor that they will encourage their members to patronize locally produced feeds. (Mylen P. Manto)