The provincial government is looking into the potential of Bataraza’s pineapple industry to develop into a farm tourism site to further boost the local economy after marking the fourth year of the Pinya Festival.
Dr. Romeo Cabungcal, provincial agriculturist, said that the Pinya Festival can be used to promote growth in the agriculture sector as it showcases the town’s top commodity. The municipality of Bataraza opened its fourth Pinya Festival, which will be celebrated from July 15 to 18.
It is the resumption of face-to-face celebration after it started in 2019.
“Maaari natin gamitin ang Pinya Festival or ‘yong ating commodity that can promote growth in the agriculture sector. Pwede natin isama sa turismo na pwede ilagay sa agro-tourism– Ito ay makakaambag hindi lang sa pagpapataas ng antas ng kabuhayan ng ating mga magsasaka lalo na ‘yong ating mga magpipinya, ito rin ay makaka-contribute sa pagpapaunlad ng ekonomiya ng Bataraza,” he said.
The Office of Provincial Agriculture (OPA) plans to establish and strengthen local groups of pineapple farmers through the assistance of the Municipal Agriculture Office of Bataraza.
The office will also identify and develop a learning site that will be turned into a farm tourism location in coordination with the Department of Tourism and Provincial Tourism Office.
“Unang-una ay pagbubuo at pagpapalakas ng samahan ng mga magsasaka ng mga nagpipinya ay ating gagawin sa pamamagitan ng Municipal Agriculture Office. I-identify natin as a learning site kung saan ay magiging show window at demonstration ng ating mga mangingisda,” he said.
Meanwhile, in line with the celebration of Pinya Festival, the local government of Bataraza also recognized the outstanding pineapple farmers. The recognized farmers are members of the Palaw’an indigenous peoples from different barangays who have been producing pineapple for years.
“Sa sarili ko, nakakatuwa na dahil sa pagsusumikap ng mga kasamahan ko pati ako ay nakaabot kami sa punto na nagkaroon kami ng parangal,” said Toridio Garay, one of the awardees.
According to the Municipal Agriculture Office of Bataraza, there are 237 indigenous peoples (IPs) dependent on pineapple farming on their 733 hectares of land as of 2020 data.
Cabungcal plans to also include the provision of incentives to local farmers province-wide with a cash prize and the awarding of farm inputs.
“Siguro kasama namin ito, idaragdag namin ito sa programa– pagbibigay ng insentibo. Magsasagawa kami sa lalawigan ng Palawan ng tinatawag na Provincial Farm Family Achievement Day, kung saan don natin pararangalan ang mga natatanging magsasaka at mangingisda ng lalawigan ng Palawan,” he said.