To speed up reconstruction recovery efforts the Department of Agriculture (DA) has named Bohol as one of the priority implementation areas of the upcoming Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP).
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala vowed to help sustain the revival of the province’s farm and fishery sector to secure food for the locals and attract tourists who are slowly going back to Bohol five months after an earthquake hit the province.
“I encourage local leaders to take part in the PRDP,” Alcala said, stressing that the program will be instrumental in funding major projects relative to the growth of its agri-fishery sector.
“You will be able to speed up agriculture-related projects in your locality with the PRDP, with only 10 percent equity of the total project cost,” the DA chief added.
The World Bank-funded program will be implemented for six years with a budget of $500 million for loans and $7-million worth of grants. It will cover 80 provinces nationwide, including provinces covered by the Mindanao Rural Development Program Phase 2 (MRDP 2).
“It will have a total fund of $627 million including the $120-million equity share of the national government and the LGUs,” Alcala revealed.
To officially kick off its implementation, Alcala signed a memorandum of agreement with Governor Edgardo Chatto–to to establish the government platform for a modern, climate-smart and market-oriented agri-fishery sector.
During his visit to the province, Alcala turned over P90-million worth of agriculture projects and farm implements to local executives as well as farmers and fisherfolk organizations.
He also inspected the Manga Fish Port in Tagbilaran for possible rehabilitation and upgrading. The fish port was damaged during the quake and needs to be assessed first before reconstruction takes place.
Alcala sees the fish port as a potential fishing hub and market for local fishers and tourists. He even suggested the cultivation of important fish species such as pompano and lapu-lapu around the port to be sold to tourists frequenting the area.
Bohol is included in the Philippine Coconut Authority’s fertilization program to hasten the recovery of coconut tress that can still rehabilitated. Coconut is a major commodity in the province along with rice and corn.
DA will establish a corn mill in the municipality of Loon where white corn is considered a staple food or rice substitute.
The upland barangay of Taytay will also be developed as possible source of semi-temperate vegetables to lessen Bohol’s dependence on vegetables from Cebu, which originally come from Benguet.
He also instructed the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority to review the request of the Tagbilaran city government to rehabilitate the fish port of Manga District, which was damaged by last October’s 7.2-magnitude earthquake.