AROROY, MASBATE – Despite its flourishing economy as a gold-rich town, Mayor Arturo Virtucio deemed it necessary to invest in renewable sources of income. The training on sorghum production conducted by the Department of Agriculture-Bicol in partnership with the San Miguel Foods Inc. (SMFI) came in timely as the local chief executive aims to boost its agricultural economy. About 70 representatives of different farmers’ organizations from Aroroy and the nearby municipality of Balud attended the activity which was held in the Municipal Hall of Aroroy on September 19, 2019.

“Malipay ako san pagkita ko saiyo na damo na interested sadi na pangkabuhayan. Most of all, amo ini an pinakaimportante kaya an iyong tanan adi kita sa pangabuhayan kay an importante sa tao pagkaon, pangabuhayan (I am very happy to see that many of you are interested in this livelihood project because most of all, food and income are equally important for us),” Virtucio said.

A team from DA-Bicol headed by Sorghum Program Report Officer Engr. Michelle Maligang discussed the Techno Guide on Sorghum Production which includes the growth and development of the sorghum plant, tillage and planting practices, water management, fertilization as well as weed and insect pest and diseases control. Maligang also shared some updates about the sorghum techno demo farm at the Masbate Breeding Station.

Maligang mentioned that sorghum is one of the Department of Agriculture’s new priority commodities with a targeted expansion area of 191.50 hectares in 2019. She also sought the LGU’s commitment to achieve the required sorghum production area. Meanwhile, SMFI Luzon Operational Head Raymund Britanico and Central and South Luzon Corn Production Specialist Orlando Agustin oriented the participants about the SMFI Assembler Program/Sorghum Production. They also assured the farmers of a guaranteed market with purchase agreement and a guaranteed floor price.

“Whatever you produce, we will buy at an agreed price,” Agustin said.

As of June 2019, the DA-Bicol has two techno demo farms for sorghum which are both in the vegetative stage — the 1.5-hectare techno demo in Asid, Masbate and the 1-hectare techno demo in Aroroy, Masbate. The agency proposes to develop 200 hectares for sorghum production in 2020. Farmers from Aroroy committed 50 hectares of its agricultural land for sorghum production while Balud agreed to develop 12 hectares for the same purpose.    

A similar training was conducted in Cawayan, Masbate on September 18, 2019.

“Kun kikitaon ninyo an kuwarta ada saiyo barangay. Napakatahom na opportunity ini dili lamang kay an ada is sorghum, kun hain an inyo kalipay, didto kamo—balinghoy, sorghum, isad na alternative (As you can see, you have the money in your barangay. This is a big opportunity not only because of sorghum, you also have cassava as an alternative. Do what makes you happy),” Virtucio added. Sorghum, one of the world’s top five cereal crops, is considered an ideal raw material for livestock and poultry feeds. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-RAFIS V)