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Negros Oriental set to become the food basket of Central Visayas

The provincial government of Negros Oriental in partnership with the private sector is set to develop Tamlang Valley to be the food basket in Central Visayas.

The 25,000-hectare Tamlang Valley project is proposed to be an agro-industrial zone in support of the food security and resiliency program of the current Marcos administration.

Tamlang Valley is a hinterland area in southern Negros Oriental situated along the valleys of Santa Catalina, Siaton, Pamplona, Valencia and Sibulan towns spanning 25,000 hectares of land.

It was once known as a “no man’s land” in the late '80s and early '90s at the height of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army insurgency. 

Negros Oriental Gov. Manuel “Chaco” Sagabarria studying the map showing the Tamlang Valley Zone of Peace area. The provincial government recently led a workshop on Aug. 30, 2023 to develop a comprehensive plan for sustainable agricultural development in the Tamlang Valley. (Photo from Provincial Government of Negros Oriental FB page)

The sustainable agricultural development in the Tamlang Valley area is seen to bring Negros Oriental into the spotlight as a major produce of agricultural products. 

“While Bohol is known for being a tourism destination, Cebu for industrial technology, and Siquijor for being a ‘mystic’ island, mag-unsa na sila (what would they be) if without food? So Negros Oriental, as an agricultural province, we have to be the major producer of agricultural food products in the region,” said Edward Du, president of the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce & Industry (NOCCI).

The Negros Oriental provincial government, in coordination with NOCCI, spearheaded a planning workshop on the Tamlang Valley Sustainable Agriculture for Growth and Resiliency on Aug. 30, 2023 to develop a comprehensive plan for sustainable agricultural development in the Tamlang Valley area.

The output or project profile will be endorsed to the Regional Development Council (RDC) for feasibility study and funding during its Full Council Meeting, which is set to be held on Sept. 15, 2023 in Dumaguete City with Negros Oriental as the host. 

This agro-forestry project is designed to make the province a major food basket in the province and the region through mass production of industrial crops, high-value crops, cereals and legumes, root crops, vegetables, agri-fishery, and livestock. 

It was also crafted to adapt the Department of Agriculture’s Localized Rice Sufficiency Program to address the looming rice/corn crisis.

Representatives from the different government line agencies in Negros Oriental take a photo after the forum and planning workshop on converting Tamlang Valley into a food basket for Negros Oriental and the Central Visayas. (PIA Negros Oriental)

With the expected increase in the production of agricultural commodities in the area, Tamlang Valley is seen to emerge as the food basket of the province as well as in the region. 

While the process of feasibility study takes time, Negros Oriental Gov. Manuel “Chaco” Sagarbarria is pushing to accelerate the project by planting the priority crops within the next six months to one year.

Sagarbarria said that currently, the province has P600-M worth of road construction network.

He will also seek additional funding assistance from the 2nd congressional district, as well as from the national government funds for the project to start the planting of some high-value crops.

Du said that initially, planting sugarcane and coconut in Tamlang Valley is more doable since the province already has existing oil mills and sugar mills with ready investors.

“We will also prioritize the rice as our basic necessity now, and Tamlang happens to be bordered by two big rivers, but this takes a little time because we still have to construct dikes, irrigations, and other facilities,” the NOCCI president said.

Other crops to be planted include vegetables, coffee, cacao, calamansi, cassava, corn as well as livestock production, among others.

With this, the project is seen to bring economic benefits through increase of revenues, create jobs, and bring in progress to the valley while addressing the insurgency problem in the area. 

“We want solutions to existing problems. The existing problem now is food inflation kay mahal na kaayo ang bugas (because rice is now so expensive) and insurgency problem,” said Du. (JCT/PIA7 Negros Oriental)

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Jennifer Tilos


Region 7

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