April 17, 2024

Farmers and fisherfolk in the Cordillera will be among the major beneficiaries of Sec. Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr.’s three-year “Masaganang Bagong Pilipinas” program.

The program aims to boost agricultural productivity, lower food costs, ensure food security, and make farming and fisheries attractive investment alternatives to the private sector.

Recognizing farmers and fisherfolk as unsung heroes in his speech during his recent visit to the Agricultural Training Institute-Cordillera in La Trinidad, Benguet, Tiu Laurel said under the program, highland areas like the Cordillera will benefit from the establishment of post-harvest facilities like cold storage, tram lines, roads, various trading posts, and upland irrigation the DA plans for this year and in 2025.

“The Masaganang Bagong Pilipinas program focuses on expanding agri-fisheries for increased production, modernizing agriculture and fishery production systems, and developing and improving post-harvest facilities and infrastructure. I came here to consult with you for us to plan our budgets for this year and 2025. There is a need for us to be coordinated starting from the farmer directly to my office,” Tiu Laurel said.

The Cordillera accounts for almost 80 percent of the country’s highland vegetable production.

Tiu Laurel led the turnover of P417,000 worth of farm machinery to three farmers’ cooperatives associations in Mountain Province.

He reiterated the creation of a 5,000-pallet position cold storage and market area in Taguig City that will serve as the market area for high-value crops and vegetables coming from the Cordillera, which will only serve farmers and cooperatives.

Tiu Laurel pointed out the importance of close coordination between the department and local government units on the creation and implementation of plans for crop diversification, which will help stabilize farm income while increasing crop choices and promoting best practices in farming.

“The government can also tap the abundant harvest of farmers for distribution and sale in the Kadiwa centers, which we will be strengthening, and to be the farmers’ gateway,” he said.

In pursuit of achieving rice farmers’ income and competitiveness globally, the secretary also led the distribution of certificates of award to local government unit representatives of Kalinga and Ifugao. – Jonathan T. Llanes