MINERVA BC NEWMAN
CEBU CITY – The Department of Agriculture (DA-7) steps up its agricultural programs and provided assistance to farmers in Central Visayas heeding the call of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to boost production of the country’s essential food items to ensure sufficient food supply for the long-term.
The Alliance Progressive Organization (APO), led by their National Vice Chairperson Antonio Cuizon also met with DA7 regional executive director Joel Elumba on July 22, 2022 to discuss the provision of technical assistance for the promotion of the sustainable agricultural development in western part of Cebu Province, to include Balamban, Asturias, Toledo City, Pinamungajan, Aloguinsan, Barili and Tuburan.
Cuizon said these areas have big vast arable land suitable for rice and corn production and with communal irrigation systems that have been damaged and non-functional. There is an urgent need to rehabilitate the communal irrigation dams for farmers to till again their farmlands.
Elumba and his team also met with Negros Oriental governor Henry Pryde Teves on July 20 to closely coordinate with all local government units in the province for the implementation of priority agricultural programs, activities and projects (PAPs).
Teves presented to the DA-7 team his priority programs on rice, corn, high value crops and livestock. The governor was concern on the remaining budget under the I-REAP and I-BUILD programs in terms of submission of proposals.
DA7 distributes assistance to farmers in CV
The DA-7 through the Adoption and Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture (AMIA) and Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pagasa (BP2) programs delivered 867 sacks of inorganic fertilizers to six farmer associations in the AMIA Village in Barangay Mantalongon, Dalaguete, Cebu on July 18.
Fabio Enriquez, chief of the Research Division said, the fertilizers include complete, urea and ammonium phosphate and worth P2.07 million to benefit 230 association members from the AMIA Village.
These associations are the Mantalongon Irrigators Associations (MIA), Kapunungan sa mga Mang-uuma sa Sigpit (KAMSI), Mag-uuma sa Mantalongon nga Nagpakabana (MAMANA), Lahug Mantalongon Farmers Association (LAMFA), Granchina Vegetable Farmer Irrigators Association (GVFIA) and Suwa Mantalongon Farmers Association.
Enriquez said that the AMIA village in Mantalongon was established in October 2021 which as a pilot beneficiary of the AMIA Program because it was identified as a high-risk area and prone to soil erosion.
“We introduced to them the Climate Resilient Agriculture (CRA) practices such as contour farming method and crops and livestock diversification,” Enriquez said.
In Siquijor, on July 20, 132 rice farmers from the Municipality of Maria, Siquijor who are engaged in hybrid rice production received fertilizer subsidy from DA7 under the Rice Program’s Fertilizer distribution e-Voucher System worth P139,630.
Each qualified farmer receives a fertilizer voucher which they will present to the accredited merchants in the province upon claiming their bags of fertilzers. The voucher amount corresponds to the declared hybrid rice planted from the previous year, under Rice Resiliency Project II.
Siquijor Governor Jake Vincent Villa and Provincial Agriculturist Emigdio Coritico both said that the rising prices of fertilizers are the farmers’ urgent concern. The assistance, they said, lessens their burden on fertilizer cost.
DA7 also turned over farm/agricultural machineries worth P2.76 million to the Mangga Farmers Association (MFA) in Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental on July 22. The machineries include one-unit 4WD tractor, a corn sheller with dehusker and a water pump with engine set to the MFA.
Elumba, in his message said, the farm machineries are intended to support the corn program for the establishment of the 50 hectares corn model farm project in Sitio Mangga, Barangay Mayabon, in Zamboanguita.
More programs are stake at the DA7 and there are challenges as well such as the dwindling farmers tilling the farm and that the average age of farmers now at 56-50. DA7 said, there is a need to entice the youth to invest in farming.
“We need an immediate plan to ensure that our food supply and the food prices are within reach of ordinary Filipinos from now until the end of the year,” the President and current DA Secretary said, in one of his meeting the DA officials.