BY ELDIE S. AGUIRRE,
Digos City Bureau Chief
MALITA, Davao Occidental – Executives from the International Pepper Community (IPC) based in Jakarta, Indonesia visited this town for an ocular inspection of the newly established pep-per farms situated at its up-land village.
Marivic Hubac, executive assistant to the governor of Davao Occidental said IPC executive director W. Don Lionel Gunaratne and Nut Haryanto, IPC in-formation officer purposely went to the province to share their expertise in producing high quality pepper in their country.
“With their knowledge and expertise in the field of pepper production, we are certain that if we expand our pilot farm into a pep-per plantation its produce will be one of the best in the pepper industry,” Hubac said.
“We rated the pep-per nursery in Demoloc as 5 star pilot farm. And I am impressed that you got one of the best hybrid varieties in the world. This is the first hybrid variety released from India, and you’re lucky enough to get it from Cambodia,” Gunaratne said.
The IPC executives said based on the soil analysis and climate condition in Davao Occidental there is no doubt that the pepper production in the area will spread all over the place; the first step to become famous in the Southeast Asia.
To speed up the pepper production interested farmers will be formed into clusters where they would be monitored and managed by a team of agricultural technicians from production down to marketing.
Black pepper could be intercropped with coconuts, coffee and even agro-forest farms such as falcata. Falcata also thrives in Davao Occidental since it has been part of a government livelihood program for its farmers.
Davao Occidental Governor Claude Bautista had been to Indonesia and Vietnam to look for business opportunity in terms of agriculture with high value and market demand that could be produced in the province, hence he discovered pepper production as one of the most viable crop that could be planted in the locality.
“Pepper production is one of the most promising crop that we could offer to our farmers in the province since we are assured of its market thereby will redound to additional economic activity in our locality aside from our planned industrialization in the next few years,” Bautista said.
Bautista is planning to develop 10,000 hectares of black pepper in selected towns of Davao Occidental using a plantation-based management system where-in the production costs will be subsidized by the local government following the Plant Now pay later scheme.
Technical team from the Department of Agriculture in Region 11 recently visited the pepper pilot farm in Barangay (village) Demoloc in which they concurred on the viability of the area for pepper production.
Hubac said the province is vying to become a member of the International Pepper Community (IPC), and if succeeds Davao Occidental will be the first province in the Philippines to become a member of the prestigious pepper community in the world.
Based on data from the Department of Agriculture the Philippines is importing at least 3,000 metric tons of black pepper from IPC member countries.