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Soy swift solution for ‘Yolanda’

The government has just announced a P42-billion fund to address the Yolanda crisis.  In the meantime, there is a need for swift, simple, inexpensive solutions to address the hunger problem in the Yolanda-stricken areas. Soy is one such solution.

At the Dec. 1 67th birthday celebration of Francis Cansino, dzRB “Maunlad na Agrikultura” radio host, I talked to several agriculture crop champions who came to thank Cansino for his staunch support of small farmers and fisherfolk.

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One of them was Dr. Nilo de la Cruz (0906-7813294), president of Golden Beans and Grains Producers Cooperative based in Nueva Ecija. He had successfully implemented a soy bean production program in several barangays and had submitted a proposed Soy Roadmap for DA-Region 3 to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

I subsequently called Rosemarie Aquino (09154622438), technical working group chair of DA’s National Soy Bean Program. She informed me that de la Cruz’s roadmap submission was a good one, consistent with the National Soy Roadmap.

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Rationale

As I described in an earlier article, the P50 investment in soy can yield P10,950 in three months.

The P50 is used to buy and plant a kilo of soy. In 3 months, this will yield 25 kilos of soy. Processing this will result in 200 liters of soy milk and 12.5 kilos of sapal (soy meal), which can provide protein and be made into delicious soy bola-bola. At P46 per liter of milk and P140 per kilo of bola-bola, this results in P9,200 and P1,750 respectively.

What does this mean for a hungry family in the Yolanda-affected areas? A family of five ideally needs 10 glasses of milk a day and added protein of half a kilo. After processing the soy, the family will enjoy nutritious food at a value of P146 a day.

Sister Eloisa David has been helping both the past and the present Leyte governors in their provincial livelihood programs. She has recently been asked to take on a key role in this area, especially in the wake of the Yolanda disaster.

Elvira Torres, the soy area contact person and Manager of Region 8’s Regional Integrated Agricultural Research Center (RIARC) is actively working on this. Aquino has provided the following contacts that can be called for immediate soy seeds delivery:

For Region 8:    Ms. Elvira Torres (0906-6039130)

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For Region 11:  Mr. Agapito (0929-5336430)

For CARAGA:    Ms. Freda Maslog (0999-3757207)

Low-cost Component

There is now a planned P42 billion program for Yolanda. As this rolls out, low-cost program components that can be implemented both immediately and extensively should be given priority attention. Soy is one such component.

For the poor and undernourished typhoon victims, this is certainly a worthy option to consider. During the three-month wait for the soy seeds to achieve results, other livelihood activities should be promoted, such as vegetables and livestock raising.

Yesterday, the Committee on Climate Change of the National Agriculture Fisheries Council (NAFC) met to suggest some actions that the newly formed Yolanda Rehabilitation Team headed by former Senator Panfilo Lacson should consider. Low-cost components, such as a widespread soy program, should get priority funding so that the typhoon victims can have their survival needs met.

(The author is chair of Agriwatch, former Secretary for Presidential Flagship Programs and Projects, and former Undersecretary for Agriculture, Trade and Industry. For inquiries and suggestions, email [email protected] or telefax (02) 8522112).

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TAGS: Agriculture, Business, column, ernesto m. ordonez, hunger problem, soy, Typhoon Yolanda
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