P1.4-B farm, fishery equipment turned over in Region 12

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/30 July) — The Department of Agriculture (DA) distributed here on Thursday around P1.4 billion worth of farm and fishery equipment as well as financial grants for various priority agriculture-related projects in parts of Region 12.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala led the turnover of the farm machineries, postharvest facilities, fishing boats and gears, and project funds to local government officials and farmers’ groups in a grand ceremony held in front of the newly-completed DA-12 regional complex in Barangay Carpenter Hill.

The activity was joined by around 3,800 leaders and members of farmers’ associations and cooperatives, municipal mayors, governors and congressional representatives from various parts of Region 12.

“This is part of our continuing commitment to improve the lives of our farmers and fisher folk, and provide them with better opportunities to thrive on a long term basis,” Alcala said during the program.

The DA chief turned over an assortment of farm machineries and equipment that were funded under the agency’s banner programs.

It comprised around P60.9 million worth of machineries under the Agri-Pinoy Corn Program; P49.5 million under the Agri-Pinoy Rice Program; P11.1 million under the Agri-Pinoy High Value Crops Development Program; and, P2.2 million under the Agri-Pinoy Livestock Program.

Around P152 million worth of livelihood projects for small fishermen, fishing boats and gears were released through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Region 12.

For the project grants, the agency turned over to several municipalities around P481 million worth of grants for projects under the PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn or PAMANA program and P45.8-million under the Bottom-up Budgeting scheme.

Alcala awarded certificates of no objection and availability of funds for 16 farm-to-market road projects worth P336 million under the infrastructure development component of the Philippine Rural Development Program.

Also released were funds for P56.8 million worth of projects under the Soccsksargen Area Development Project and P81.7-million worth of road projects under the Farm-to-Market Road Development Program.

He assured that the agency will continue to work on its priority programs and projects in the remaining 11 months of President Benigno S. Aquino’s term.

Alcala said DA has specifically lined up a range of initiatives for the region’s four provinces and five cities until July next year.

“We will deliver more of these in the coming months,” the official said.

Alcala said he is confident that the country’s farming sector will reap the gains of the enhanced farm mechanization program for many years.

He noted that the agency did not only distribute the farm machineries but has shown to farmers how to properly utilize them.

“We have established a good foundation so far and we will make sure that this will be sustained on a long term basis,” he said. (MindaNews)