Tuba’s 7th Ava Festival

TUBA, Benguet –Farmers in this town were encouraged to practice organic farming in order to boost and strengthened soil fertility and health benefits of agricultural products. Mayor Clarita Sal-ongan made the call during the Sept. 26 “Kapihan” hosted by Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-Benguet , marking the
town’s 7th Ava Festival with its theme: “Revitalizing Sustainable Entrepreneurship Opportunities Through
Regenerative Agri-Cultural Tourism.”

Mayor Sal-ongan stressed that the festival is aimed at promoting locally produced ava or taro, one of its One Town, One Product (OTOP). And to sustain the growth of the industry, further develop added-value to the product and enhanced market linkages that will generate more employment. Sal-ongan led other
municipal officials during the opening of the festival and also in the press forum (Kapihan) “Revitalizing Sustainable Entrepreneurship Opportunities Through Regenerative Agri-Cultural Tourism” is this year’s theme.

The local chief executive likewise reported that all regular programs are being implemented , pointing out the cooperation of their legislative body headed by Vice Mayor Maria Carantes; department heads and their respective staff, barangay officials and the people of Tuba. Myrna Cabanes, head of the municipal agriculture office, supported Mayor Sal-ongan’s call to local farmers to participate in organic farming
to mitigate soil issues. Cabanes cited recent years ava production decreased due to the alleged excessive use of synthetic fertilizers by farmers which reduced the fertility of the soil in several ava-rich producing
areas, and reports of diseases such as “molds.”

“Despite these challenges, as of today , the (ava) industry is improving,” Cabanes said, stressing the
various programs undertaken by their municipal government and the support given by the Department of
Agriculture (DA)-Cordillera. These support include extension programs and financial assistance through
loans. Cabanes said, to date, there are 360 local ava growers.Among the top producing areas are -San
Pascual, Nangalisan, Tabaan Sur/Norte and Tadiangan. She added ava are grown mostly in semi-temperate and hot climate areas.

According to the Carlita Leon of the budget office, some P10.391-million was allocated for agriculture out
of the P280.5-million total annual budget for CY 2022, sourced largely through internal revenue allotment
(91%), local tax (7%) and national wealth (3%). To date, 50 percent of the budget has been utilized.
In other development, Engr. Jackson Pasamic, head of the municipal engineering office and acting municipal administrator, said 2022 budget in infrastructure projects include: P18.750-M(farm-to market-roads); P6.4-M (irrigation); P4.8-M (flood control); and P1-M (repair/ rehab of school facilities).

Primo Agatep/ABN

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