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DA taps Mindanao onion growers to undertake expansion initiative

The Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) in collaboration with Mindanao onion growers, has initiated an expansion program to fortify production and uplift the livelihood of onion farmers.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) launched the Onion Expansion Program on November 14, 2023 in Tupi, South Cotabato. The program is seen as a strategic response to the elevated commodity prices witnessed in Luzon last year.

Assistant Secretary James Layug emphasized the program’s commitment to combating agricultural smuggling, a menace that has adversely impacted the local onion industry.

Layug underscored the initiative’s core objective of promoting local onion production, which the DA aims to eliminate the dependency on imports, fostering self-sufficiency and potentially transforming South Cotabato into an onion exporting hub.

Layug said the program is in alignment with DA Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel’s directive to boost production and eliminate agricultural smuggling.

Recent data reveals a positive shift in the agricultural landscape, with agriculture’s contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rising from 6 percent to 9 percent this year—a promising trend signaling the beginning of an agricultural evolution.

The Tupi Integrated Agriculture Cooperative (TIAC) and the Polo SN Farmers Association play pivotal roles in the program’s success, as highlighted during the launch. The event saw the participation of the Bureau of Plants Industry, DA-12 officials, DA attached bureaus/agencies, the Philippine Army, local government units, farmers cooperatives and various people’s organizations.

The DA envisions a comprehensive whole of nation approach to inclusive and sustainable peace, aligning agricultural programs with goals of food security, environmental protection, and sustainable development. ### (photo courtesy of DA 12 -RAFIS)