University of the Philippines president Alfredo Pascual said yesterday that the propagation of certified white corn seeds in the country will help address cereal shortage.
Pascual and Gov. Alfredo Marañon, Jr. were at the ground-breaking of the P6million collaborative project of the province, UPLB, and the UPLB-Alumni Foundation of Negros Occidental, in La Granja, La Carlota City.
Pasual said UPLB-College of Agriculture-Research and Training Center will be the Center of Excellence for Agriculture in the country and its impact will be felt, not just in Negros Occidental, but nationwide.
The Sustainable Agri-Livestock Technology Training and Extension Program of Negros Occidental will be designed to develop certain varieties of crops, he said.
The country imports lots of rice, but white corn is a better substitute for it, Pascual said.
“So if we can help propagate that by making certified seeds available for the production of white corn, it will boost the self sufficiency of the country,” he also said.
Marañon, meanwhile, assured the informal settlers at the 288-hectare property of UPLBCA Research and Training Station and are to be relocated, that they will have land rights in Brgy. Nagasi, and will be provided with livelihood assistance.
Pascual said Brgy. Nagasi is still part of the UPLB property but it has been occupied by more than 600 families and there are about 232 families squatting out of the barangay.
“Our initial proposal is to accommodate the 232 families in Brgy. Nagasi so that the settlers will be in one place,” he said.
These people are practically using the land for private purposes, but this property is designed to serve the public good which we need to share with the rest of the country, Pascual added.
From the P6 million project cost, Marañon allocated the P3 million as counterpart of the province, while the other P3 million is the reward from the Department of Interior and Local Government when the province was the recipient of the Pamana ng Lahi Award.*LTG