MANILA, Philippines - The government needs to spend between P130 million and P280 million for its five-year program to increase cassava production and self-sufficiency by 2014.
This will help feed millers during tight corn supply and avoid emergency importations of corn and feed wheat, Agriculture assistant secretary Dennis B. Araullo said in a statement.
Hiking production of cassava by 440.21 percent to 10.48 million metric tons (MMT) in 2014 from 1.94 MMT in 2008 will need P26 million and P70 million every year until 2014 for its five-year program, which also calls for increasing areas planted to 500,000 hectares from the 230,000-hectare target this year.
The industry requires 10.48 million MMT by 2014 as cassava can replace as much as 20 percent of corn in feeds that is also used for bioethanol production and human consumption.
The hog and poultry sectors corner more than three-fourths of total domestic cassava consumption.
“The government has to address a slew of challenges that threatens this goal of cassava self-sufficiency, such as low productivity, limited supply of planting materials of new and high yielding varieties and limited supply of cassava dryers and other postharvest equipment," Araullo said.
The plan also involves the establishment of post-harvest equipment to increase the quality of produce in major cassava-producing regions like northern Mindanao, Bicol, Central Visayas, and Caraga.
The department has distributed high-yielding cassava varieties like NSIC Cv22 (KU-50), Lakan I and Golden Yellow in 53 hectares during the last crop year.
“Hence, this five-year cassava self-sufficiency plan that aims to raise the national yield average of nine MMT per hectare to 21 MMT per hectare by 2014," he added.
Local demand for cassava will likely increase to some 10 MMT in 2014 from 8.820 MMT in 2013; 7.448 MMT in 2012; 6.132 MMT in 2011; and 5.016 MMT next year, given a steady hike of demand for feeds to 8.294 MMT in 2014 from four MMT next year.
During the first quarter, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) said cassava was the biggest gainer in the crops subsector as it increased 5.08 percent to 405,000 MT followed by banana at 5.04 percent to 2.02 MMT.
In 2008, cassava production rose 3.64 percent to 1.941 MMT last year from 1.871 MMT in 2007 while areas planted inched up to 211,633 hectares last year from 209,633 hectares in 2007. - R.A.M.Rubio, GMANews.TV