Govt Allots P20M for Agri-Fishery Projects in E. Visayas

PHILIPPINES - The Department of Agriculture (DA) extended over P20-million worth of assistance to farmers, fishers, and local government units in Eastern Samar and Biliran (about 585 kilometers southeast of Metro Manila) in order to increase their productivity and incomes.
calendar icon 11 June 2012
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Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala handed over the respective certificates of awards to beneficiaries, during his recent visit, where he also dialogued with farmers, fishers, and local government officials in the Eastern Visayas region, a statement posted on the DA website said.

Of the total agri-fishery projects, farm equipment and inputs, Eastern Samar received P12 million, while Biliran got P8 million, including a P2.8 million from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for an aquasilviculture project of the Naval State University (NSU). The BFAR is tapping selected agri-fishery state universities and colleges to promote aquasilviculture which aims to rehabilitate mangrove areas and increase the production of marine fish species, including crabs and other crustaceans.

The various equipment distributed to farmers’ and fishers’ groups include hand tractors, rice threshers, flatbed dryers, multi-purpose drying pavements, corn mill, pump and engine sets, cassava granulators, seed cleaners, banana chips processing equipment, and fish cages, fishing paraphernalia, and implements.

Mr Alcala also distributed certified rice seeds, hybrid and OPV corn seeds, coconut seedlings, salt and organic fertilisers, assorted vegetable seeds, seaweed planting materials, veterinary drugs and medicines, and several livestock animals like Brahman bulls, carabaos, dozens of sheep and anglo-nubian bucks.

He also raffled off hand tractors, boat engines, several head of carabao with implements, and anglo-nubian bucks.

Recognising a large number of farmers and ruralfolk in Biliran and Eastern Samar eat white corn grits as their staple, Secretary Alcala committed to provide them with quality white corn seeds that include hybrid, OPV, and traditional tiniguib, along with several units of corn mill.

He also encouraged coconut farmers to intercrop white corn and raise goat and sheep under the coconut trees. They will be assisted by the DA through the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) under its nationwide coconut replanting, intercropping and livelihood program called Kasaganahan sa Niyugan ay Kaunlaran ng Bayan (KAANIB).

In all, Mr Alcala visited several agri-fishery projects and consulted farmers, fishers, and local officials at eight different sites. These include: a DA-BFAR mariculture project in Barangay San Roque, Biliran town; KAANIB project in Barangay Busali, Biliran town; Calumpang communal irrigation system in Barangay Atipolo, Naval; lunch meeting with Biliran local officials led by Governor Gerardo Espina, Jr. and Rep. Rogelio Espina; provincial farmer’s and fisherfolk’s forum at Naval, Biliran; media conference and meeting with top officials of various DA family agencies in Eastern Visayas; visit and dialogue with fishers at DA-BFAR’s Guiuan marine fisheries research center; and provincial farmers’ and fisherfolk’s forum at Quinapondan, Eastern Samar, with Governor Conrado Nicart and Rep. Ben Evardone.

During these fora, he enjoined provincial and local government officials to enlist Biliran and Eastern Samar, and their respective municipalities under the proposed Central Philippines Rural Development Program (CPRDP), which the DA is finalizing for possible funding by the World Bank. The CPRDP entails the construction of needed infrastructure such as farm-to-market roads, irrigation systems, agri-fishery trading centers, and postharvest facilities, including the implementation of sustainable farm and fishery enterprises and livelihood projects.

After Eastern Samar, the DA chief visited the island-province of Dinagat.

Since July 2010 when he assumed office, Mr Alcala has gone through 78 provinces to fulfill his self-imposed target to visit all 80 provinces by June 2012, in his journey to bring the government closer to the people, as instructed by President Aquino himself, and feel the pulse and resolve the needs of small farmers, fishers and other ruralfolk, including local officials.

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