DA allocates P2.3B for agri support programs in Region 12

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/24 December) — The Department Agriculture (DA) has allocated some P2.3 billion for the implementation of various agricultural support programs and projects next year in parts of Region 12.

Amalia Jayag-Datukan, DA Region 12 director, said the funding comprises the budget for 2016 of the regional office, which will focus anew on the rollout of production support services and the expansion of its farm mechanization program.

But the agency’s allocation for next year is down by around P500 million compared to this year’s P2.8 billion.

The reduction was due to the transfer of projects under the Bottom-Up Budgeting scheme and the PAyapa at MAsaganang Pamayanan or PAMANA to other implementing agencies, she said.

Datukan said the bulk of their production support allocation for next year will be utilized for the implementation of more farm-to-market road projects.

She said the budget for the farm road projects was retained to the agency but their implementation will be handled by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

“We’re now focused on the upgrading and concreting of our farm roads. We no longer have projects for road opening and graveling,” she said in a press conference Monday night.

Datukan said 70 percent of their support funding for next year has been committed to projects proposed by farmers’ groups and cooperatives.

She urged other local farmers to immediately submit proposals for the remaining 30 percent of their allocation.

Datukan explained that they are targeting to begin early next month the procurement process for their projects to avoid delays in the run-up to the May elections.

“We’re targeting to finalize the initial deliveries before the start of the election ban. Otherwise, we will have to wait until its lifting by July,” she said.

The prohibition against release, disbursement or expenditure of public fund for public works begins on March 25. (MindaNews)