KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 11 Nov) – The Department of Agriculture (DA) released on Wednesday around P538 million worth of farm machineries and project grants to farmers’ groups and local government units (LGU) in parts of Region 12.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala personally led the mass distribution activity during the DA Region 12’s “Ulat sa Bayan” held in front of its new regional office complex in Barangay Carpenter Hill here.
“This is the fulfillment of our commitment to provide our farmers all the necessary support to make sure that they will produce better and eventually compete in the markets,” he said in a press conference.
The mass distribution of machinery and project grants on Wednesday is the third for Region 12’s four provinces and five cities this year.
Alcala led the release of some P400 million in grants last April 10 to 11 in a visit to Esperanza town in Sultan Kudarat and another P1.52 billion in this city on July 30.
During the activity, DA-12 turned over various farm machineries to its accredited or recognized farmers’ associations, irrigators’ groups and cooperatives.
It included brand new units of rice combine harvesters and four-wheel drive tractors with backhoes.
For the project grants, the agency released some P157.7 million worth of farm-to-market roads and other infrastructure projects under the Philippine Rural Development Program, P125.4 million road projects under DA-12’s regular fund and P89.6 million in road sub-projects under South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos Area Development Project.
The municipal government of T’boli received some P125 million worth of farm road projects under the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan or PAMANA program while around P1.25 million in livelihood projects under Bottom-up Budgeting scheme were released to various recipients.
Under the flagship “Agri Pinoy Program,” DA-12 turned over some P27.6 million worth of projects under the rice component, P42.5 million under the corn component, P11.8 million under the high value crops development program and P3.5 million under the organic agriculture program.
Alcala said the region has remained among the DA’s priority areas in terms of assistance due to the proven capacity of beneficiaries to fully utilize the grants that they received.
He said such situation can be seen with the continuing growth of the region’s farming sector and related industries.
The official said more machineries and project grants are already in the pipeline for Region 12 in the remaining seven months of his tenure at DA and of the administration of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.
“We will continue to help areas, like Region 12, where our interventions are absorbed faster and their impacts are actually reaching the ordinary folks. That is my marching orders from the President,” he added.