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US firm donates P5-M seeds, MinDA starts sorghum program

AGRICULTURE • 06:45 AM Tue Nov 26, 2019
MinDA chair Emmanuel Pinol
(First two photos were downloaded from Scott Seeds website while succeeding photos were taken by Diane Faith Garcia and Marvin Segovia.)

Davao del Norte has been chosen by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) as the pilot area of the Sorghum Program which is aimed at producing feed grains and silage to develop poultry, hog, small ruminants and livestock in Mindanao.

Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib has committed areas for the planting of Sorghum in Talaingod town, a predominantly Indigenous People's community with large unutilized land and very high poverty incidence.

Sorghum farming will also be introduced in banana areas which were affected by the Fusarium Wilt or Panama Disease.

A Texas-based Sorghum Seeds company, Scott Seeds, has donated 25-tons of Hybrid Seeds to MinDA who in turn will give this to Davao del Norte to start the pilot farm.

Actually, the offer to donate seeds for the Sorghum Program was facilitated by Agriculture Attache Joy Javelosa when I was Agriculture Secretary but this was stalled when I resigned from the DA and moved to the MinDA in August.

On December 16, I and Gov. Jubahib will travel to Texas to sign deed of donation and transfer of P5-M worth of Sorghum seeds from Scott Seeds' President Chad Kriegshauser to MinDA and from MinDA to Davao del Norte provincial government.

Another Texas Sorghum Seed, Warner Seeds, has also expressed interest in supporting the Sorghum Development Program of Mindanao.

A Philippine-based Thai multi-national poultry and hog corporation, CP Foods Philippines, has committed to purchase the Sorghum production of Mindanao farmers.

Sorghum is a drought tolerant grass which produces grains the size of Mongo beans ideal for food and feed grains.

Originally from Africa, Sorghum has been developed by American seed companies because of its huge demand for feeds and silage.

Under Philippine conditions, Sorghum could have as much as two ratoons thus giving the farmers three harvests with one planting.

Its stalks remain green even during harvest time making it ideal for silage production with one hectare capable of producing silage for 20 heads of cattle for one year.

Initial tests with Sorghum which I initiated when I was with the Department of Agriculture showed promising results prompting me to continue the program under MinDA.

The planting of Sorghum will supplement corn production in Mindanao with the expected growth of hog, poultry and halal meat production industry.

Prioritized in the Mindanao Sorghum Production Program are the ancestral domains of the Indigenous People which are largely unutilized.

The seeds are expected to arrive in Mindanao by the First Quarter of 2020 and will be planted starting February.

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