GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 16 Jan) – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has approved an additional P18 million grant for the establishment of three more modern rice processing facilities this year in South Cotabato province.
South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said Thursday the Rice Processing Centers (RPC), which will feature state-of-the-art grains processing and storage facilities, will be put up in the rice-producing towns of Surallah and Banga and in Koronadal City.
She said the DA central office has allocated P6 million each for the development of the first level RPCs in Barangay Dajay in Surallah, Barangay New Pangasinan in Koronadal City and in Banga.
“These facilities are among the projects committed by DA to the province this year in support of our agriculture sector,” she said in a report from the South Cotabato Information Office.
Last year, the agency allotted P32 million for the establishment of the province’s first RPC in Barangay Ambalgan in Sto. Niño town. The third-level facility will be turned over by DA on Friday to project proponent Firmus Farm Service Cooperative (FFSC).
The governor said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala has confirmed to grace the formal turnover of the facility.
Based on a memorandum of agreement signed in quadripartite by DA Region12, National Food Authority, Sto. Niño municipal government and FFSC, the processing center will operate as procurement, marketing arm and linkage of farmers to milled rice buyers within Region 12.
Out of the facility’s P32-million allocation, P23.75 million was utilized for the construction of its grain processing and storage, the agreement cited.
It said P6 million was set aside for the initial working and operating capital as well as the capability building aspect while P1 million was allotted for administrative and management fees.
Amalia Jayag-Datukan, DA Region 12 director, said that aside from the facility’s turnover, the agency will release certificates and a check to FFSC worth P3.1 million.
She said they will turn over certificates to 10 recipients of multi-purpose drying pavements with storage and a certificate of commitment for the Rehabilitation of the Topland irrigation system in Koronadal City.
Datukan said Alcala will later grace the inauguration of a communal irrigation system in Barangay Talisay in Lake Sebu town and the unveiling of an “AA” standard slaughterhouse in Barangay Dansuli in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat.
The official said these projects were part of their continuing efforts to help strengthen the agriculture and fisheries sectors of the region.
The initiative focuses on the upgrading and modernization of the area’s agricultural facilities as provided for by the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act.