Growing more corn and cassava is a viable enterprise in Cebu Province through the Capitol's Enhanced Countryside Development (ECD) Program.
In a meeting with planters associations and financing institutions, led by Governor Gwendolyn Garcia Tuesday, August 18, corn and cassava have been identified as the top crops to kickstart the program geared at improving production and filling supply gap to achieve self-sufficiency.
ECD primarily encourages more investment to reinvigorate countryside farming and agribusiness. This way more constituents in the Province work where they live and not troop to the urban centers for employment opportunities.
Garcia pointed out that the pandemic showed how insufficient the supply of corn is even in Cebu Province which was known for its mass production of corn.
Land areas in San Remigio switched to planting cassava covered 6.5 hectares; 130 hectares to cassava and 20 hectares to hybrid yellow corn in Bogo City; 15 hectares to cassava and 106 hectares to yellow corn in Medellin; and 258 hectares to cassava, hybrid yellow corn and other crops in Daanbantayan.
According to Dr. Roldan Saragena, chief of the Provincial Agriculturist’s Office, the areas are from sugarcane planters who converted to planting other crops like yellow corn and cassava. They brought their produce to the Sagay Sugar Mill in Negros Occidental for food processing.
“The challenge of exploring other crops is if the endeavor is profitable,” Saragena pointed out. He explained that opportunities under the ECD Program are on production of hybrid yellow corn and cassava, improved white corn, and native pig as well as fishery and rice hybridization.
According to the 11 feed millers in Cebu, the projected demand for yellow corn is at 469,200 metric tons and currently, the production is short of 467,100 metric tons. saragena said the deficiency can be addressed by having an additional harvest area of 93,420 hectares.
Through his presentation on “Yellow Corn Cost and Return Analysis per Hectare” it was learned that total production costs Php48,595. The estimated sales at 5,000 kilograms per hectare sold at P14.50 per kilogram yields Php72,500 or a net income of P23,905. This marks a 49.19% return of investment (ROI).
The 11 processors and feed millers are Tennesse Feedmill, Inc. of Minglanilla; Robina Agri Partners and Feeds Cebu of Mandaue City; B-Meg Feeds Manufacturing of Consolacion, General Milling Corporation of Lapu-Lapu City, Oversea Fees Corporation of San Fernando, Cebu Agribusiness Inc. of Mandaue City; Provera Nutritional Solutions Corp./Promix Feeds of Talisay City, Prifoods Corporation of Cebu City, Unaco Milling Solutions, Inc. of the City of Naga, Universal Feed Mill Corporation of Consolacion, and Penacle of Talisay City.
As for cassava production, the deficiency is placed at 524,483.58 metric tons with a projected demand of 540,695.10 metric tons. The demand is calculated based on population multiplied by .1319 and multiplied again by the per capita consumption of 1,000 kilograms.
The figure .1319 is based on the eating population – at 13.19 percent – according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in its 2016 survey. The PSA survey on that year also revealed the per capita consumption at 1.454 kilograms. In a 2015 survey, the projected Cebu population for 2020 is 3.6 million.
Saragena said the total production cost for fresh cassava is at Php49,710 per hectare with an estimated sales of P105,000 or a net income of P55,290. A kilo of cassava is sold at P3.50, therefore 30,000 kilos yield per hectare sell at P105,000. This posts a 111.23-percent-high return of investment which makes cassava production a viable enterprise.
Meanwhile, total production cost for chipped and dried cassava is at P55,910. An estimated sales of P148,200 based on selling price of P13 per kilo renders a net income of P92,290 or an even higher return of investment at 165 percent.
Further, Saragena emphasized that through the project, there is already a sure market for the harvested products. The Capitol will provide post-harvest facilities, collaborate with local government units in providing the needed technical assistance, and facilitate crop insurance to participating farmers.
“The pandemic showed us that Cebu is not self-sufficient. We had to scramble for rice. Commercial rice which was sold at P1,500 per sack went to as high as P2,500 per sack. Unya sa corn lisod sad. We can hardly meet the need, dili lang sa white corn but also sa yellow corn for our feed mills. Atong nasayran nga gikan pa diay nis Mindanao ning atong ubang supply and even from other countries,” Garcia said.
“So mao ni nga mag-create ta og ECD Council and with the help of banks, naa ang Land Bank for financing, naa ang DBP for infrastructure, and Veterans Bank for medium, micro, small enterprises, makasugod na ta ani to put up our facilities in the north, in the south, in the west and in our islands,” she added.
Also present during the meeting were 4th District Provincial Board Members Kerrie Keane Shimura and Horacio “Raci” Franco. (Eleanor Valeros)