M’LANG, North Cotabato – Banana and rice farmers in this province are now benefiting from the PHP35-million access road improvement project put up by the government along the Buayan-Lepaga-Gaunan section here.
Engr. Basir Ibrahim, the director of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Region 12 (Soccsksargen), on Friday said the North Cotabato 3rd District Engineering Office, headed by District Engineer Eddie M. Amir, has completed the road network that farmers and local folks are now using.
“This convergence project with the Department of Trade and Industry aims to provide access road leading to at least 50 hectares of agricultural land planted with Cavendish banana,” he said.
The access road project also included the installation of solar lights and riprap, a foundation of loose stones for the breakwater, and other roadside structures, measuring 520 meters on the right side and 60 meters on the adjacent segment.
“Bringing of farm products to the market is now cheaper and faster,” said rice farmer Isidro Labiga, 50, of Barangay Gaunan, in an interview.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim also confirmed that the remaining road gap of 1.468 kilometers is already proposed for implementation by 2022.
“Strengthening road network for industry and trade development converts grasslands into more productive areas; spurs economic growth; and, creates more job and income opportunities, thus, boost local development further especially for farmers,” he said.
Currently, the Philippines is one of the largest exporters of Cavendish bananas in the world. It is a major industry in Mindanao that produces more than 90 percent of total production in the country.
Cavendish banana tends to be of a similar overall shape as that of the “lakatan” (Musa acuminata) variety but only bigger. (PNA)