Press Release
October 28, 2012


In a recent budget hearing, Senator Edgardo J. Angara called on State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in Region II to focus their research and development (R&D) projects on protecting their watershed and optimizing the region's irrigation system.

Angara added that ,in doing so, these SUCs such as the Cagayan State University can meaningfully contribute to food security and agricultural development in the region.

"Region II is still sparsely populated, but the potential and the richness of its resources are hardly tapped," said Angara.

The Cagayan Valley Region, considered the agricultural bowl and the fruit basket of the north, is the first in corn production and third in palay production in the country.

Twenty percent of its total land area around 540.8 thousand hectare is dedicated to agriculture. Around 8,200 hectares on the other hand are considered idle.

Angara emphasized, "Cagayan has so much land that can still be cultivated. As you go closer to the Pacific, along the Sierra Madre and Caraballo Range, you have very good tropical ranges of highlands, highly suitable even to semi-temperate vegetables and fruits."

He then added that much more of the region's potential can be tapped if government, the academe and even private industry collaborate in R&D projects in agriculture and environmental protection.

Cagayan State University's R&D projects currently focus on integrated dryland and biofuel; climate change and adaptation strategies for community watersheds; aerobic rice production system; tropical fruits to promote poverty alleviation in Cagayan; and goat meat, among other things.

"You have one of the mightiest water systems in the country, the Cagayan River, " Angara said. " Your main focus should be on the watershed protection and irrigation system."

The longest and widest river in the country, the Rio Grande de Cagayan, otherwise known as the Cagayan River, traverses the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Isabela and Cagayan.

Cagayan River has an estimated annual discharge of almost 54 billion cubic meters, with a groundwater reserve of almost 48 billion cubic meters. The river drains the fertile valley that produces a variety of crops, including corn, rice, bananas, coconut, and tobacco.

Angara, who is also Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, added that the Cagayan SUCs should focus their R&D on protecting and maximizing their water system for the optimum production of grains such as corn.

He then stressed that the price of chicken and meat inflates because of such feedstock. By improving the security of this water system and Cagayan's grain production, they improve the security of meat and generally the food security of Cagayan, and to an extent, of the entire country.

"SUCs fulfill the very vital role of empowering and educating our people. But as mandated by our government, SUCs are also called to help out in solving national issues, such as how to enhance food security throughout the country. With some strategic and creative thinking, they can be instrumental in coming up with practical and feasible solutions to basic problems such as food production," explained the veteran lawmaker.

A former Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Angara is the author of the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (RA 8435) which prescribes s measures on modernizing the agriculture and fisheries sectors to increase profitability and global adaptation.

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