GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/15 December) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is investing around P792 million for the development and upgrading of more farm-to-market roads and various vital agricultural support facilities in parts of Region 12 in the next two years.
City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said DA officials disclosed such funding in a meeting last week for the agency-led Soccsksargen Area Development Project (ADP) held in Davao City.
He said DA specifically allotted some P303 million for the implementation of projects under its Food Security Program in the region next year.
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.
The mayor said the lined up projects included the construction of a “Double-A” standard abattoir or slaughterhouse in this city.
The National Meat Inspection Services in Region 12 earlier said constructing a complete slaughterhouse that will pass the “double A” classification standards will cost about P5 million.
For 2016, Rivera said the DA central office proposed for an additional funding of around P489 million for the region.
He said the funds will be utilized for the upgrading of 23 more farm-to-market roads with a total length of 45.63 kilometers (km), of which 8.35 km will be in this city.
The approved projects included the construction of three rice and corn mills and a project management office for the Soccsksargen ADP, he said.
The mayor said he initially pledged to provide the required 15-percent local counterpart for the road project.
“I’m excited with these projects. (They will help) make GenSan a progressive city that has a sustainable economy and enough support facilities for the entry of new investments,” Rivera said in a statement.
Already considered as Region 12’s commercial and financial center, the city government recently started crafting a plan to transform the city as the area’s agri-industrial hub.
The city government had signed an agreement with the national government’s Public-Private Partnership or PPP Center for the development within the next three years of a modern integrated food terminal and public market complex.
Aside from the integrated food terminal, the mayor said they are planning to link with the private sector for the development of more farm-to-market roads and agri-industrial facilities as well as the expansion and upgrading of the city’s central public market. (MindaNews)