June 17, 2024

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Department of Agriculture turned over more than P130 million worth of agri- fishery interventions in the Cordillera to boost agricultural productivity and ensure food security.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel, Jr. led the turnover and distribution of assistance to farmers, fisherfolks, and irrigators from the region during his recent visit in this capital town.

Distributed under DA’s Rice Banner Program is the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund-Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA) where 15 farmers received P5,000 each.

The Cordillera got a share of more than P619M benefitting 122,130 eligible rice farmers under the RCEF-RFFA in 2023.

The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, the lead agency in the implementation of the RCEF mechanization program, distributed more than P82M worth of rice production and post production facilities and machineries to 31 farmer cooperatives and the local government units of Kalinga and Ifugao.

Three farmer cooperative associations in Mountain Province also received three units of multi-cultivators worth P417,000 under the high-value crops development program.

DA also distributed assistance amounting to more than P25M to Typhoon Egay-affected rice farmers of Benguet through the quick response fund.

Seven completed irrigation projects of the National Irrigation Administration were turned over to irrigators associations beneficiaries in the region.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources also turned over a community fish landing center amounting to P3.7M in Abra, and a fish cage livelihood project worth more than P2M to three organizations in Apayao.

Tiu Laurel said the mandate given to him by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is to help the “unsung heroes” – the farmers, fisherfolks, and agricultural workers – through the Masaganang Bagong Pilipinas program, which aims to boost agricultural productivity, lower food costs, ensure food security, and make farming and fisheries attractive investment alternatives to the private sector.

“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,” the Secretary said.

Under the program, highland areas like the Cordillera will benefit from the establishment of postharvest facilities like cold storage, tram lines, roads, various trading posts, and upland irrigation. – Redjie Melvic Cawis