GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 12 Feb) – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has delivered a total of P321.18-million worth of agricultural infrastructure projects and machineries to farmers in Region 12 last year as part of its continuing food security and farm modernization programs.
Amalia Jayag-Datukan, DA Region 12 director, said the infrastructure projects and machineries comprise the agency’s commitment to the region’s farming sector under the enhanced Agrikulturang Pilipino or Agri-Pinoy program.
Region 12, which is also known as the Soccsksargen Region, covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Datukan said the program’s rice component cornered the bulk of the delivered projects and machineries at P187.7 million, followed by corn at P61.24 million, farm-to-market roads at 49.37 million, organic farming at P3.2 million, barangay food terminal at P991,755 and high-value crops development at P773,253.
On Monday afternoon, the agency turned over to the beneficiaries the third batch of its committed farm machineries and other agricultural inputs that included 39 hand tractors, 20 floating tillers, eight four-wheel drive mini tractors, one four-wheel drive tractor, 35 shallow tube well engines, two 90-horsepower farm tractors and three 1.5-ton capacity shredder.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and several local government officials in the region graced the simple turnover rites held at the DA-12’s research station in Tupi town in South Cotabato.
Datukan said the delivered projects and machineries manifests the agency’s commitment to continually improve the region’s farming sector and overall agricultural productivity.
“These interventions would further enhance our efforts towards achieving total food self-sufficiency in the region,” she said.
The official assured that the delivered infrastructure projects and machineries were of the best quality and were acquired properly based on the government’s procurement standards.
She cited that DA-12 managed to save about P28.6 million from its budget for the implementation of farm infrastructure and purchase of machineries in 2012 through proper compliance with the provisions of Republic Act 9184 or the “Government Procurement Reform Act.”
Datukan noted that the agency’s awarded bid contracts in 2012 reached P321.188 million, which was much lower than the approved bid contracts of P349.813 million.
Alcala lauded the administrative and operational reforms implemented by DA-12 in the last two years, citing that such achievement has led to the significant increase in the agency’s budget for the area this year.
He said DA-12’s budget increased to P1.29 billion this year or 62 percent higher that the P795 million that it received in 2012.
Alcala said the agency will continue with its adopted reforms this year, especially on the procurement process, to improve the quality of its services and deliveries to the country’s farming sector.
“We’re not only making sure that we accumulate savings but we’re doing our best efforts to ensure we deliver the infrastructure, machineries and inputs that are really needed by our farmers and that they are properly served to the proper beneficiaries,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)