Cagayan Valley is located on the northeastern part of the Philippines, with a total land area of 2,683,758 hectares (NSCB 1999). It is bounded on the east by the Sierra Madre mountain range, on the west by the Cordillera Mountain range and on its south by the Caraballo Mountain range. The region's topography is generally sloping with the lowlands, having slopes from 0 to 8 per cent, covers only 8,293 square kilometre or 31per cent of the total land area.
The Valley is composed of five provinces: Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino. Isabela is the largest province in the region, having approximately 40 per cent of the total land area of the region. Isabela is the largest corn producing province in the region accounting for almost 80 per cent of the total corn output of the region (BAS 1999).
A large portion of the region is woodland area, some of which is old growth forest. Agricultural area covers 709,964 hectares or 26 per cent of the total land area of the Valley (NSCB 1999).
The region is frequented by typhoons and most of the prime agricultural lands are flood prone. Most of the 19 typhoons that enter the Philippine area of responsibility annually pass through the Cagayan Valley region. This situation limit the planting season for corn to early April, before the rainy season, and on November, after the rainy season and way ahead of the dry season which starts on February.
Based on the 1995 Philippine census, the region is the home to 2,814,299 Filipinos including numerous indigenous peoples (NSO 2000). The largest province, Isabela, accounts for 46 per cent of the population while the island province of Batanes, the smallest province, accounts for 0.6 per cent of the total population of the region.
Agriculture is an important sector in the region. Agriculture and Fishery sector contributes approximately 51 percent of the Gross Regional Domestic Product (DA 2000). In 1998, 762,000 people or approximately 30 per cent of the region’s population was employed in agriculture, while the rest were engaged in various activities to include transportation, wholesale and retail trade, construction and social/personal services. Unemployment rate in the region was pegged at 2.7 per cent in 1995.
NSCB (Philippine National Statistical Coordinating Board), 1999. Philippine Statistical Yearbook 1999, Republic of the Philippines, Manila.
BAS (Philippine Bureau of Agricultural Statistics), 1999. Estimated Corn Inorganic Fertiliser Usage by Province, Department of Agriculture, Manila.
NSO (Philippine National Statistics Office), 2000. ‘QuickStat on Region II Cagayan Valley’, http://www.census.gov.ph/data/quickstat/qs020001.html (09/24/00).
DA (Philippine Department of Agriculture), 2000. ‘DA promotes biotech for a sustainable agricultural activity’, http://www.da.gov.ph/welcome.html (12/07/00).