In terms of coverage area, the coconut industry is the largest in the province. Coconut is planted province-wide. Overall, the area planted to coconut has reached 143,394 hectares (from about 42,400 hectares in 1990), constituting about 10 per cent of the total land area.
However, declining farm productivity and widespread cutting of coconut trees for lumber have adversely affected copra production. From 54,810 MT in 1990, copra output level fell to 18,444 MT in 2001. There were several coconut processing plants established in the province,but only one (1)—the Dumaguete Coconut Oil Mills Inc.
Mango and Other Fruits
The growing of mango (primarily the carabao or tu-ud variety) has become popular in the province due to the fruit’s high value and export potential. In 2002, the total area planted to mango stood at 2,706.50 hectares, equivalent to 270,670 trees. However, only 94,029 of the treeswere bearing, yielding a total 32,910 MT of mango, or an average of 350 kilograms fruit per tree. Mango production is expected to increase in the coming years since there were then about 159,534 non-bearing trees and 17,087newly planted trees.
At present, only the Sibulan-based Orient Foods Industries Corporation (OFIC) processes mango for export. The OFIC produces dehydrated mango and other fruit products. Some planters sell fresh mangoes to the export market.
The province produces a wide variety of fruits. Based on government findings, the top 10 fruit trees, in order of quantity, are as follows: guava (568,685 trees in 2,689 hectares), jackfruit (274,181 trees in 1,392 hectares), mango (270,650 trees in 2,706.5 hectares), papaya (244,893 trees in 395.34 hectares), sineguelas (70,373 treesin 692 hectares),avocado (53,044 trees in 564 hectares), star apple (51,375 in 670 hectares), soursop or guyabano (27,959 trees), duhat (25,741 trees) and lanzones (22,519 trees). Fruit trees also planted in the province but numbering less than 20,000 each are: rambutan, lemon, oranges, breadfruit, pummelo, tamarind and balimbing. Also, the province produces, on average, about 2.4 metric tons of banana per hectare per year.Rice and Corn
These cereals are the basic food staples of Negros Oriental. Palay (rice grain) production in 2001 reached 58,984 metric tons out of an area of 21,210 hectares. This translates to an average yield of 2.78 metric tons per hectare, equivalent to 55.6 cavans ( 50-kilogram sacks). About 82 percent of the harvest came from irrigated fields with a combined area of 16,255 hectares. Rainfed areas (4,955 hectares) accounted for the remaining 18 percent of total output. The average yield from irrigated rice lands was 2.99 MT per hectare, compared to 2.09 MT per hectare for rainfed areas. Corn production in 2001 reached 60,352 MT. With total corn area of 87,210 hectares, this meant an average yield of 0.68 metric tons per hectare. More than 95 per cent of the output (57,575 metric tons) was of the white corn variety.
Yellow corn, which is primarily used for feeds, made up the remaining 2,777 metric tons, or 4.6 per cent of the total harvest for 2001. The widespread cultivation of rice and corn has resulted in the proliferation of downstream enteprises in the province. As of August 2003, there were a total of 1,695 retailers, 15 wholesalers, 235 wholesalers/retailers, 102 rice mills (combined capacity of 1,002 bags), 84 corn mills (785 bags total capacity), and 208 warehouses (301,867 bags total capacity). Negros Oriental is a transshipment point for cereals coming from Luzon, Mindanao and the neighboring Visayan provinces.
Abaca & Other Natural Fibers
Negros Oriental is a traditional supplier of abaca fibers, or the so-called Manila hemp. There are 19 abaca-growing municipalities and cities in the province. However, some 94 percent of the total output comes from just five (5) towns—Valencia, Sibulan, San Jose, Pamplona and Amlan. Valencia is the top producer of “bitool” (the local term for abaca fiber from laob variety classified as excellent grade fiber). Bitool is the preferred fiber utilized for handloom weaving and fibercraft manufacturing, so it is higher priced than abaca loose fiber (ungraded/unclassified abaca fibers, usually traded in all-in basis). As of 2001, the local abaca industry provided livelihood to 1,685 abaca farmers cultivating a total area of 2,295.5 hectares of abaca; a number of strippers, who extract the fibers by hand; 24 duly-accredited abaca fiber traders; 10 abaca fiber processors (including four (4) fibercraft enterprises and 10 loomweaving centers with 123 weavers); and 315 abaca fiber knotters. Aside from abaca, the province also supplies other natural fibers such as salago and cotton. Annual salago production in the province is estimated at 60 MT; the fibers are exported mainly to Japan. Cotton is presently grown in about 333 hectares, which comprise just 1 percent of the potential cotton areas. Most of the cotton is grown in Bayawan City.Vegetables and Other Crops
In 2001, the total area planted to vegetables in the province reached 1,456.0 hectares, with a combined yield of 7,102 metric tons. About 54 per cent of this area was planted to cabbage, cauliflower, pechay and other leafy vegetables. Vegetable farming for tomato, broccoli, cauliflower, and pechay has been a priority target of the Integrated Pest Management Program using trichogramma and diadegma as natural pest controls.
Locally grown rootcrops include mainly sweet potato, cassava, yam and taro. However, almost 80 per cent of the estimated 4,010 hectares of rootcrop farms is planted to sweet potato and cassava. In 1999, the quantity of cassava and sweet potato produced amounted to 5,712.2 MT and 2,024.7 MT respectively.Mongo, beans and peanuts are also grown in about 4,000 hectares in the province, but only as temporary crops, or as alternate or mixed crops in the rain-fed white and yellow corn farms.
Beans grown in the province include string beans, bush beans, soya beans, kentucky beans and lima beans. Total production of beans is 869.47 metric tons.
Other crops grown in the province include high-value crops with export potential, such as cacao and coffee. Cacao is locally grown in five varieties: native, Red Creolio, Green Podded, Brazilian Red, and Green Podded. Total cacao production in 1999, out of 102 hectares, was 53.698 metric tons. Coffee is planted in about 994 hectares, mostly in Canlaon City. The most commonly grown variety is Robusta, followed by Arabica. Coffee harvested in 1999 from about 538 hectares totaled 17.073 MT.