THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has named the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) as still the top producer of highland vegetables in the entire country.
According to DA-CAR Regional Director Cameron Odsey, a large majority of the country’s supply of highland vegetables hails from the Cordillera.
“We supply 80 percent of the highland vegetable requirement in Metro Manila, and in other lowland provinces,” he said.
The region’s supply of highland vegetables from Benguet, Tinoc, Ifugao, and Bauko, Mountain Province amounts to some one million kilograms or P30 million worth daily, sourced out to lowland markets across the country.
Some 70,000 farmers in the region are employed by the vegetable trade, while some 28,000 farmers are in the rice industry producing various varieties of heirloom or traditional and commercial rice in the region.
“As our farmers tested high-yielding varieties, they have proven that some are not suitable, so they just continue planting traditional rice. These are called heirloom rice because these have been passed down from generation to generation. Until now, these have been the source of supply of the interior villages in the Cordillera. This can’t be simply forgotten,” Odsey said.
Meanwhile, some 12,000 farmers are in the business of raising some 270,000 heads of swine in the region while about 25,000 people are employed in freshwater fish production via the region’s various freshwater systems.