THE MINDANAO Development Authority (MinDA) has tapped Pilmico Foods Corp. to help with the marketing strategy for the Sorghum Development Program that aims to develop about 100,000 hectares for the crop. Pilmico Assistant Vice President Glen L. Banogon, in a statement released by MinDA, said the country’s sorghum requirements have been mostly imported and producing it locally will benefit the livestock and poultry industries. “The three main considerations for sorghum are its nutritional value, availability and cost. There’s a big potential here, with DA (Department of Agriculture) and MinDA’s assistance and facilitation in the cultivation process and Pilmico’s help in the market aspect,” said Mr. Banogon. Pilmico, an Aboitiz company, is engaged in feeds for aquaculture, livestock, and poultry. He explained that sorghum seeds can be used as feeds for fish, duck, chicken, and hogs while the stalks can be used as silage for goats and cattle. “If we are successful with this, we will be able to bring down the cost of feeds allowing us to compete with imported goods, therefore increasing income and alleviating poverty with focus and consistency,” MinDA Chair Emmanuel F. Piñol said.
The sorghum program will focus on developing marginal lands and ancestral domains to hit the target area by 2021. Eight provinces have been identified as initial participants and will receive seeds from the 25-ton stock donated by an American company. The provinces are: Davao del Norte, Cotabato, Sarangani, Zamboanga Sibugay, Lanao del Sur, Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur, and Basilan. “We will orient you (beneficiaries) on what you could do with the crop, how the LGUs (local government units) could assist in the financial aspect, and MinDA on its part, will be reaching out to our funding agency partners and also link you up with a ready market,” Mr. Piñol told the first batch of beneficiaries during an orientation session in Davao City last Monday. MinDA said the projected income from the program is P15 billion annually. — Carmelito Q. Francisco