President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. led on Monday the awarding of interventions amounting to P543.16 million for farm mechanization and modernization to improve food security levels particularly in the “Rice Granary of the Philippines.”
The Chief Executive, who concurrently heads the Department of Agriculture (DA), highlighted the importance of making the agriculture and fisheries sector the center of his administration’s plans and programs, particularly its critical role in the recovery and growth of the Philippine economy.
“Sa inyong malaking kontribusyon sa agrikultura ng bansa, taos-puso kaming nagpapasalamat sa inyong lahat sa inyong pagsisikap upang makakain ang ating mga kababayan. Bilang inyong pangulo ay asahan ninyo na laging susuportahan ang agrikultura ng ating administrasyon,” President Marcos said during the distribution of agri interventions in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.
Funded through the DA-Rice Program, the San Andres Small Water Irrigation System Association (SWISA) of Muñoz received P6 million for the rehabilitation of its Small Water Impounding Project (SWIP). The Makabagong Magsasaka MPC of Cabanatuan City, on the other hand, received P5 million for the construction of warehouse with mechanical dryer.
Also for the Nueva Ecija rice sector, the DA-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) distributed P15.97 million worth of hand tractors, four-wheel tractors, transplanters, rice combine harvesters, recirculating dryers, and precision seeders from the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
During the event attended by around 2,500 farmer-beneficiaries, exhibitors and DA project partners, President Marcos shared that there are now many local manufacturers of farm inputs, machinery, and equipment, and the results of various research and development activities now contribute to improved production.
He said the national government and its partners continue to plan and provide for the needs of the agri-fishery sector for it to be more prepared, resilient, and not importation-dependent if another crisis comes, especially now that an El Niño warning has been raised.
President Marcos added that strengthening the local agricultural value chain system is another important task that is being done by the government.
During the event, the interventions awarded include P40 million each for the construction of 20,000-bag capacity onion cold storage facility of the Calancuasan Sur Farmers Association of Cuyapo and the San Vicente Alintutuan Irrigators Association of Laur funded under the DA-High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP).
The DA-Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) also allotted P209.955 million for the Nueva Ecija provincial local government unit (LGU) and P211.834 million for the Bongabon municipal LGU for the construction of 120,000-bag capacity onion cold storage facilty.
Through the DA-Enhanced Kadiwa Financial Grant Assistance Program, the Bonifacio Multi-purpose Cooperative of Cuyapo town and the New Magilas Primary Cooperative of Bongabon town received P1 million and P2.4 million, respectively, for their working capital and hauling truck.
The Lupao Crops and Swine Raisers Association and the Try Me Agriculture Cooperative of Muñoz also received P5.5 million each for the establishment of a bio-secure swine housing facility under the DA-Livestock Program.
“Ang lagi kong pinapaalala sa lahat ng ating mga kasamahan sa pamahalaan, hindi lang dapat tumaas ang production, dapat gumanda pati ang hanapbuhay ng ating mga magsasaka para naman hindi nahihirapan, hindi malubog sa utang,” the President said as he expressed optimism in achieving higher food sufficiency levels for the country in the coming years.### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)