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Philippines: P.9M allotted to revive Balbalan oranges

There is a new hope for citrus growers of the famous Kalinga Oranges commonly known as `gayunan` in this town after the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and the local government unit (LGU) allotted through a Memorandum of Agreement P990,000 to revive the industry. Covered under the Kennedy Round 2, Productivity Enhancement Program (KR2-PEP), NEDA through its Regional Office granted P693,000 or 70% of the project cost while the LGU of Balbalan allotted P297,000 or 30% as counterpart.

Entitled Production of Gayunan thru Improved Technology, the project intends to produce and distribute good quality, disease-free gayunan seedlings through the procurement of certified disease-free imported citrus seeds and asexual propagation or side-grafting which hastens the propagation and distribution of budded seedlings.Major activities to be undertaken would include the construction of two unit plastic houses, seedling propagation, rehabilitation and improvement of two screen houses, establishment of foundation grooves as source of bud woods, establishment of rootstock seed grove, and the transportation of farm inputs.

The LGU will also hire two laborers to do the seedling production activities and will also conduct trainings on Citrus Production and Management providing farmer-producers the skill on proper citrus propagation and management to ensure the sustainability of the program. Famous for its tastier, juicer and sweeter taste, the gayunan was a major source of income of the people in the early 60s, but the industry started to decline in the early 80`s due to the damage brought by the systemic diseases leaf mottling and the citrus tristeza virus, aside from poor orchard management and minimal expansion of gayunan orchards because of the lack of planting materials.

Under the leadership of Mayor Allen Jesse Mangaoang, the local government decided to devise methods and experiments to address the crisis, and in 1995, a group of farmers led by the mayor succeeded in propagating seeds and later successfully producing once again the famous citrus fruit. However, the effort was costly since the LGU has to import certified disease-free citrus seeds to use in the asexual propagation, prompting the LGU to seeks assistance from the Government of Japan through the KR2-PEP.

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