NegOcc to pursue sorghum production

BACOLOD City – The provincial government of Negros Occidental is embarking on the production of sorghum this year, mainly as an alternative crop for silage and feeds.

Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino bared the plan on Sunday after he and Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. met with Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol in North Cotabato over the weekend.

Piñol has pushed for the production of sorghum in Negros Occidental when he toured the provincial officials at the sorghum model farm in Makilala town.

Masculino said the agriculture chief told them that sorghum is a crop worth considering for two major benefits — income for the farmers from feeds and source of silage for livestock.

“Secretary Piñol assured that market is available for sorghum and he will provide Negros Occidental with hybrid seeds,” he said.

Masculino added that sorghum is promising as a feed ingredient and its production is very suitable for the province.

Sorghum, which can be rationed (to sprout or spring up from the root) three times in a year, is considered a versatile crop that can be grown as a grain, forage or sweet crop.

In Negros Occidental, there are some sorghum plantations producing the crop, primarily as sources of raw materials for bioethanol production.

Masculino said the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist will start the initiative on sorghum production this year.

“We have to set up a model farm at the earliest,” he added.

With the huge demand from the local livestock industry, the provincial government will venture into sorghum production – mainly for feeds and silage since Negros Occidental lacks feed ingredients which can be an alternative to corn.

Masculino said the provincial government is eyeing a 10-hectare portion of the Capitol-owned property at Paglaum Village in Barangay Mansilingan, Bacolod City as a model farm.

“It will be a province-led production initiative for the meantime. In terms of market, we can eventually tap our local feed producers,” he added. (PNA)