By Keith Anthony S. Fabro
The Provincial Agriculture Office is planning to expand the thriving pineapple plantations in Bataraza by extending financial assistance through business loans to farmers associations.
“Per our record, Bataraza has 580 hectares [of pineapple plantations], but we want it to expand into 1,000 hectares, so it could be more profitable for the town,” provincial agriculturist Romeo Cabungcal said in an interview on Monday, July 15, during the 1st Pineapple Festival celebration.
Cabungcal said this initiative is part of their high value crops development program. “For Bataraza, pineapple is one of the high value crops we’re focusing on in partnership with the Department of Agriculture” he added.
The provincial agriculturist said they are particularly tapping into the assistance from the Agricultural Credit and Policy Council that allows farmers to avail of low-interest loan for their plantation expansion.
“Organized just recently was the Provincial Loan Facilitation Team. This is the window farmers could look into for their availment of financial assistance. The money they could borrow depends on their business proposal,” he said.
For those interested, Cabungcal said “they could visit the Municipal Agriculture Office, and we’ll see how we can facilitate the loan processing.”
The provincial agriculturist said another assistance they could provide to pineapple farmers associations are the capacity building trainings that could help them intensify their production.
“Bataraza’s pineapple industry has a great potential, because a large number of [the provincial pineapple] production come from here, and with the increasing numbers of tourists, Bataraza’s pineapples reach as far as El Nido,” he said.