The town of Enrile in Cagayan will now be known as the Peanut Capital of the Philippines after Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala declared it as so, following the presentation of evidence for its noteworthy contribution to the development of the local peanut industry.

“The Secretary congratulates all of you on this feat which obviously is a collective effort, however, he requests only one thing from you, and that is commitment to improve and develop even further not only the peanut industry but the entire agricultural sector,” Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary for Agribusiness Leandro H. Gazmin said.

Gazmin, who was in Enrile representing the agri chief for the peanut harvest ceremony, stressed that the soil suitability of the town, which is sandy to sandy-loam, and unique ability to produce peanut all year-round is the primary reason why it will be known as an important source of peanut henceforth.

“Secretary Alcala is also very happy to know that you have been receptive to new technologies thereby increasing your production per hectare from 1.5 tons to 1.8,” Gazmin said.

Peanut technology and marketing

Adhering to various technological innovations of DA and the Department of Science and Technology, particularly the use of improved varieties, as well as Boron and Gypsum fertilization, peanut production reached an all-time high of 3.25 tons per hectare, posting a 200% increase from its average production.

“Sana po ay mapanatili ninyo ang inyong produksyon,” Gazmin said.

Gazmin encouraged peanut farmers to bring their harvest to the Isabela Agri-Pinoy Trading Center, where they can directly sell their produce.

The Isabela APTC is part of the government’s effort to empower farmers to become traders. It implements a unique trading system, which seeks to optimize farmers’ benefits, stabilize food prices and encourage farmers to produce more.

“Let us not treat the trading center as a mere structure, but as a venue for cooperativism where we are able to help one another increase productivity and income,” Gazmin said.

Why Enrile is #1?

Peanut is considered a major high value commodity not only in Enrile, but also in the neighboring towns of Peñablanca and Tuguegarao (Cagayan) and Sta. Maria and Cabagan in Isabela.

However, Enrile contributes the highest production share of 1800MT per year contributing 8-10% of the national supply because it is the only municipality in the Philippines cultivating peanut during dry and wet season cropping. Peanut is also intercropped with white corn.

“Per cropping season, Enrile is able to produce a big chunk of the national production, and this is a good thing because your town remains that major source of raw materials for various peanut-based products processed and sold in Metro Manila,” noted DA Region II Executive Director Lucrecio Alviar.

The town is home to some 800 peanut farmers who cultivate 700 hectares of farmlands, and has a potential area for expansion of around 800 has more. With improved production and yield, Enrile may be able to supply the import requirements for peanut, which accounts for 15,060 metric tons.

During the event, the Regional Office of DA turned over to the local government of Enrile more than P4-million worth of farm machineries and equipment, including one unit four-wheel drive tractor, 4 units corn grits mill, 10 heads of carabao, 2500 kilograms of peanut seeds for planting and 300 bags of open-pollinated corn variety. (Adora Rodriguez)