NAGA CITY — The city government asks the Department of Agriculture (DA) to grant the city’s corn farmers one Village-type Corn Post-Harvest Processing Center to help the farmers reduce their post harvest losses during rainy season.
In its one-page resolution, the Sangguniang Panlungsod informed Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala that the corn farmers were being drawn into deeper penury due to the wet climate, thus giving them difficulties to attain even the P13 per kilo support price of the National Food Authority (NFA).
“Such a price is only possible at 14 percent moisture content which is difficult to attain in the predominantly wet climate of the city by farmers relying mainly on concrete pavements to dry their harvest given the absence of mechanical dryers,” the resolution said.
City Councilor Salvador del Castillo, a farmer, said the situation compels many corn farmers to sell [their products] at a loss just to have money for them to start [planting] all over again.
In his letter to Sangguniang Panlungsod, Mayor John G. Bongat said the Village-type Corn Post-Harvest Processing Center with complete facilities such as corn cob dryer, corn sheller and a re-circulating dryer worth P3M will be used by corn farmers in the city and neighboring corn cluster areas.
A counterpart funding from the city government of Naga in the amount of P1 million will be released for the construction of a building to house the facility and the installation of three-phase electrical connection to power the equipment and related appurtenances.
Naga is one of the corn cluster areas in Camarines Sur with some 470 hectares of its agricultural land devoted to corn crops tilled by about 395 small farmers with an average harvest of 80 tons per hectare.
The city is adjacent to other corn cluster municipalities in the province such as Bombon, Magarao, Calabanga, Camaligan and Pili, all of which have direct access to the city and between them have over 2,000 hectares of corn areas.
Bongat said the national government’s corn program aims to alleviate poverty among farmers and attain corn self-sufficiency.
Farmers at their average yield of four tons per hectare need to sell their corn at no lower than P13 a kilo, the support price of NFA, in order to attain such objectives.
The processing center will be set up at the Naga City Nursery, which is strategically located in Barangay Pacol and accessible even to farmers coming from nearby towns of Bombon, Magarao, Calabanga, Pili and Camaligan corn clusters.
Bongat said that the project would benefit the corn farmers who for many years were, and still are, at the mercy of influential traders which pull down prices during bumper harvests, and raises them only when farmers were ready to sell.
“With this facility, which can dry corn to 14% moisture content, our farmers can avail of the NFA support price for corn when the market is depressed, and return to the open market when prices improve,” the city mayor said.