By Ali G. Macabalang
KIDAPAWAN CITY – The provincial government of North Cotabato will launch this month its giant bamboo growing and production, targeting at least 2,000 hectares in hilly areas including Mt. Akir-Akir in Libungan town, according to Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chairman Manny Piñol.
Sec. Piñol said he and Gov. Nancy Catamco alongside other provincial officials agreed on the venture in a meeting at his farm here on Monday. The 11-herctare or so farm, named Braveheart, covers some demonstration nurseries for varied agricultural crops and environmental species including giant bamboo seedlings.
He said the informal agreement, witnessed by First District Rep. Joel Sacdalan, Provincial Administrator Efren Pinol, Board Member Maria Kristina Pinol-Solis and former Tulunan Mayor Lani Candolada, requires the Braveheart farm to provide giant bamboo planting materials to at least 2,000 families at one hectare per family.
“The seedlings will be paid for by the beneficiaries when they start harvesting the giant bamboo after six years which will be processed in a facility to be established in the Provincial Agro-Industrial Park in M’lang town,” Piñol said.
Participating families will be asked to enter into a buy-back agreement with a group that will establish the processing facility, he said.
Giant bamboo (Dendrocalamus Asper) farmers can “earn as much as ₱200,000 per hectare” every harvest after six years of planting,” Piñol said in past post, citing a prospectus from the Bukidnon Giant Bamboo Resources Corp. (BGBRC), first bamboo processing facility in Mindanao.
The BGBRC prospectus showed that growing giant bamboo is easy and economical because it needs no fertilizers and it has high regenerative trait with several shoots continuously growing to replace harvested poles.
The MinDA has included giant bamboo growing in its multiple strides as it yields hefty income for host communities and at the same time promotes environmental protection, especially in impounding ground water and preventing soil erosions, agency media liaison division chief Adrian Tamayo, Ph.D., said.
In North Cotabato, priority areas for giant bamboo panting will be the upland towns of Arakan, Antipas, Magpet, Pres. Roxas, Kidapawan City, Makilala, Tulunan, Matalam, Carmen, Banisilan, Alamada, Aleosan, Midsayap, Pigcawayan and Lubungan – host of tourist attracting Mt. Akir-Akir, Tamyo said.
Piñol said Gov. Catamco was confident that giant bamboo faring will their provincial drive to re-green the deforested areas and provide farmers with marginal lands the chance to earn at least P200,000 per hectare per year.
He the giant bamboo is now an accepted species in the export-manufacture of wood tiles, furniture and construction materials, as demonstrated for years by the Bukidnon-based BGBRC.
Gov. Catamco will lead the ceremonial distribution and planting of the giant bamboo seedlings a week before the end of this month in Arakan and Libungan towns, Piñol said. (AGM)