(Photo courtesy of Darl Reyes Laxamana-Radam/Bataraza Municipal Tourism Office)

The local government of Bataraza town plans to increase the current land area planted with pineapples to 2,000 hectares by 2023, Mayor Abraham Ibba said.

Ibba said that currently, there are about 500 hectares of land utilized as pineapple plantation of which 75 percent have been classified as timberland and another 25 percent as farmlands owned by local residents.

“Target natin at least ay umabot tayo sa 2,000 hectares sa buong bayan na. Ii-encourage natin ang mga taga-Bataraza to plant pineapples. Yes, it will be through further encouragement,” Ibba said during the launching of the 1st Pineapple Festival of the town on Monday.

The mayor said pineapple planting started in Bataraza in 1955 when a family from Brgy. Tarusan planted pineapple seedlings from a visitor, just within their backyard.

“Imported ang seedling material na ‘yan. Ang gusto sana natin [ngayon] buong Bataraza. Lahat ng barangay nagpo-produce at nagtatamim na. Pati tayo sa LGU, mismo tayo ang nagpu-push at binibigyan natin sila ng assistance,” Ibba said.

From the first fruits that the seeds bore, it yielded and became abundant and the neighbors decided to plant the pineapple too, he said. Pineapple planting spread to the other barangays and became “very successful”.

Some of the factors that make a pineapple thrive so well in Bataraza is its altitude and the type of soil that is suited for the plant, he added.

“Buong pamilya po nagtatanim kasi napakadali nitong itanim, madaling i-maintain at mabilis din mabuhay,” said Ibba.

He noted that the current income from a one-hectare pineapple plantation is about P20,000 for every cropping.

“Ang mga bahay din nila, ang iba diyan dati mga pawid-pawid lang, ngayon yero na. Galing sa income nila sa pineapple,” Ibba said.

Ibba also noted that plantations use only the organic farming process.

He also said that the transportation of the pineapples to the city never became a problem to the farmers, as the buyers themselves go to Bataraza to buy in bulk.

“Iyong ating mga farmers galing sa farm lot nila sa taas, ibababa lang nila along the highway, ang tawag naming diyan parang tabuan along the highway, marami po ang nangongompra na mga negosyante, pumupunta sila, namimili talaga ng bultuhan,” said Ibba.

Ibba said the 500-meter elevation of the plantation above sea level is a good place for tourists to visit.

He also noted that the arrangement and layers of the plantation are also good to look at.

“Kasi itong area natin na pinagta-taniman ng pineapple is napakagandang area, nandidiyan na ‘yong overlooking… tapos marami talagang turista na nandiyan sa paligid. Plus ‘yong pagtatanim natin ang gandang tingnan, malinis,” he also said.

Ibba said that being tagged and well-known as the province’s pineapple producer attracts more tourists to the town to buy the product.