SAN FERNANDO, PAMPANGA – More than P572.3 million (M) worth of agricultural projects and interventions were turned over to the provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac, Aurora and Bataan during the visit of Secretary William D. Dar over the weekend.

Secretary Dar, who met with the local chief executives of the Central Luzon region on November 30, personally handed over certificates of award to the provincial governors, mayors, extension workers, and farmers’ organizations who attended the Farmers’ Forum held at The Orchid Gardens.

‘These further solidify the partnership of the national government with the local government units (LGUs),” he said.

Under his leadership, which is only three and a half months old, Dar stressed that the Department of Agriculture (DA) will make it a priority to partner with the LGUs in implementing programs that push value chain strategies and transform the sector into an industry.

“We have to treat agriculture as a business now, and we will do so by seeing to it that the national government’s partnership with the local government is strong and enduring,” the Agriculture chief said.

Among the projects turned over during the event were three farm-to-market road projects, under the Philippine Rural Development Project’s (PRDP) I-BUILD component. This included the 15.03-kilometer FMR which transverse through San Antonio, Parang and Saysain in Bagac, Bataan.

Other PRPD projects awarded included the establishment of trading stations for mango and mungbean, a consolidation area for sweet potato planting materials, and the supply and delivery of farm machineries and equipment for small livelihoods. The total cost of awards under the IREAP component amounts to P14.279M

Eighty units of fishing boats from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources were also awarded to 20 fisherfolk from Subic, Zambales.

In his message, Dar also thanked Pampanga Governor Dennis Pineda for supporting the initiatives of the Department and for following our guidelines set by the DA in its efforts to manage, contain, and control African Swine Fever (ASF).

Under a credit program, the Department has made available a P30,000 zero-interest loan to hog raisers affected by ASF so they can start a new livelihood project. The credit is payable in three years.