GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/22 October) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) delivered on Wednesday around P204 million worth of farm machineries and funding for various support projects to farmers groups and local government units (LGUs) in Region 12.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala personally led the mass distribution and turnover of the machineries and project grants in a ceremony held at the Tupi Seed Farm in Barangay Bololmala in Tupi town.
“These are all grants from your government and your only obligation is to make sure that all these machineries and funds are put to proper use, especially in terms of improving farm productivity,” he said during the program.
The activity was joined by leaders and members of farmers’ associations and cooperatives, municipal mayors, governors and congressional representatives from various parts of Region 12.
Also known as Soccsksargen, the region comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Amalia Jayag-Datukan, DA Region 12 director, said they distributed during the event around P45 million worth of farm machineries, postharvest facilities and equipment.
She said they comprise 10 farm tractors at 85-95 horse power worth P20.87 million, five farm tractors at above 95 hp worth P10.83 million, 48 rice threshers worth P5.9 million, 43 hand tractors worth P4.5 million, 12 cassava graters worth P1.6 million, six multi-cultivator with accessories worth P1.27 million, a four-wheel drive tractor at 37 hp worth P637,500, 30 power sprayers worth P373,020 and a shallow tube well worth P85,000.
“These are part of the region’s allocation this year under the continuing agricultural modernization program,” she said.
The official said they turned over a coffee processing facility worth P1.12 million, cacao processing facility worth P1.58 million and small-scale irrigation projects worth P40.22 million to seven sites in Region 12.
They released the certificate of the availability of funds for three farm-to-market road projects worth P33.7 million in Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat that will be implemented under the Philippine Rural Development Program.
The agency handed over checks worth around P68.5 million for the implementation of farm-to-market and other infrastructure-related support projects in various areas under the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting approach and the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan or Pamana program.
Alcala assured the delivery of more farm machineries and support projects to the region within the next two years to support the area’s unprecedented growth in terms of agricultural productivity in the last four years.
Region 12 is now number five in terms of palay production in the country and number one in the entire Mindanao.
The region is also second in the country for corn production and number one in Mindanao.
For this year, DA-Region 12 received the second highest budget among the DA field units at P3.043 billion.
Alcala said they are currently working on increasing the agency’s investments in the region and other parts of Mindanao in next year’s budget.
In the last four years, he said Mindanao’s six regions accounted for around 30 percent of their annual budget.
“This is the first time that Mindanao received such kind of attention in terms of funding and we’re continually working to increase that further,” he said. (MindaNews)