PHILIPPINES - The Department of Agriculture is allotting an initial P80 million for various agricultural and fishery projects to further increase the productivity and incomes of small farmers and fisherfolk in five towns comprising the Polillo group of islands, in Quezon.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said such assistance is also aimed at making Polillo sufficient in rice, other staples, fish, vegetables and other crops. He led the distribution of various farm inputs, equipment, and projects to more than 1,000 farmers, fisherfolk and local government officials during a two-day visit, highlighted by an ‘Agriculture and Fisheries Development Summit,’ at Polillo town hall, on April 15, 2013.
He said the DA through its Region 4-A (Calabarzon) office and other concerned DA agencies are assisting the local governments of the five towns (Polillo, Jomalig, Patnanungan, Burdeos, and Panukulan) craft a medium-term agriculture and fisheries development plan or roadmap to make Polilians sufficient in rice and major staples.
"We need to expand the area planted to rice in each of the barangays in Polillo group of islands in line with the Aquino government's goal to achieve sufficiency in rice by end of 2013," said the DA chief. He asked Polillian farmers to coordinate with the DA’s Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), led by Dir Vince Tejada, to locate springs to be tapped as sources of irrigation, and establishment of small water impounding projects (SWIPs).
The bulk of the interventions consisted of P54.7-M worth of crop and accident insurance coverage from the DA’s Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), for farmers, fisherfolk and their families in the five towns of Polillo (P13.5-M worth of insurance), Jomalig (P15M), Patnanungan (P9.6M), Burdeos (P8.35M), and Panukulan (P8.25M).
For its part, the DA’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) provided P5-million worth of fish nets, fishing gears and paraphernalia.
Two barangay food terminals worth P2M will be established by the DA’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS), while P1.5-M worth of farm equipment (hand tractors, water engine pumps, and coffee dryer), native pig and chicken, and a training module was allotted under the DA’s organic agriculture programme.
The DA rice and corn programmes gave P1.4-M worth of certified rice seeds (200 50-kilo bags worth P240,000), 150 bags of yellow and white corn seeds (P360,000), and dozens of farm equipment that included hand tractors, rice cutters, knapsack sprayers, collapsible dryers, and laminated tarps or trapal.
Polillian rural women and youth, who are members of Rural Improvement Clubs (RICs) and 4-H Clubs, also received P170,000-worth of livelihood projects from the DA’s Agricultural Training Institute.
During the forum, Secretary Alcala promptly addressed the concerns and issues raised by farmers and fisherfolk. He was assisted by head of DA agencies present that included Assistant Secretary and national corn programme coordinator Edilberto de Luna, PCA Administrator Euclides Forbes, PCIC President Jovy Bernabe, BSWM Director Silvino Tejada, BFAR Director Asis Perez, and DA Region 4-A Director Vilma Dimaculangan.
Secretary Alcala also raffled off to participants several head of farm animals (cattle, carabaos with implements piglets, sheep, and cattle), and hand tractors to each of the five municipalities in Polillo.
TheFishSite News Desk