The Department of Agriculture (DA) has turned over P37.6 million worth of agricultural assistance to the Bicol region, as part of the government’s drive to enable farmers to improve productivity and income.
Two rice processing centers (RPC) worth P6 million each were turned over to Maporong Farmers Association and Farmers Field School Palay Check/Palayaman Farmers’ Association, providing them access to a drying and storage facility.
Agriculture Secretary Manny F. Piñol encouraged rural dwellers to return to the province and take part in food-production initiatives.
Piñol stressed the government focuses on bringing programs that will directly help farmers so that they will not resort to migrating to the cities.
“The source of food is in the province, and we assure you that we will help you every step of the way,” he said.
“Agriculture is the hope of our country. We cannot resolve poverty if we don’t help our farmers and fishermen.”
A warehouse and combine harvester valued at P5.6 million were also turned over last week to Philippine Rice Research Center in Bicol (PhilRice-Bicol).
Piñol and the management of DA Regional Field Unit 5 also turned over P20 million worth of agricultural production inputs and facilities to the provincial government of Albay.
He likewise distributed 200 fiberglass boats to the 1,953 fisherfolk of Sorsogon.
On top of these assistance packages, Piñol committed 10 units of solar-powered irrigation system for the province of Albay.
“The government is reaching out to you because we want to provide whatever you need so you can help us in our vision towards a food-sufficient Philippines,” he said.
The DA is providing hybrid seeds, improving the irrigation system, promoting mechanization, providing sufficient fertilization on farms, and improving the credit facility for farmers and fisherfolk.
Piñol announced that DA is seeking the amendment of the current loaning system of the government and is set to launch the Farmers and Fishermen Quick Credit Facility or FFQCF.
“FFQCF aims to provide loans for farmers and fisherfolk without collateral, provided that farmers and fisherfolk are registered under the National Registry for Farmers and has passbook,” he added.
To fast-track the credit and insurance operation, the agriculture chief said farmers must organize themselves into cooperatives. PNA