DA allots P24M for Maguindanao

SMALL farmers’ and fisherfolk’s groups, including local government units (LGUs), in Maguindanao will benefit with the P24.2-million worth of agricultural and fishery projects, machinery, equipment and inputs to increase their productivity and incomes, the Department of Agriculture said.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said  the P24-M assistance is on top of the regular projects and interventions funded through the DAF-ARMM, DA national commodity programs (rice, corn, high value crops, livestock, and fisheries), and foreign-assisted projects like the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP).

The MRDP alone has allotted P285 M for Maguindanao to undertake infrastructure projects like farm-to-market roads, acquisition of farm machinery and equipment, and livelihood and natural resources management projects.

Alcala said the initial assistance will enable small Maguindanaoan farmers and fisherfolk engage in sustainable farm and fishery production projects, produce adequate food for their families, and earn decent incomes.

He said the initiatives is aimed to rebuild the image of Maguindanao as a peaceful and development-oriented province.

Alacala handed over the certificates of award to respective beneficiaries during his two-day trip (June 18-19, 2012) in Maguindanao, the 80th province he visited since he assumed office in July 2010.

At his first stop at the capital town of Buluan, Secretary Alcala keynoted a provincial ‘Agri-Pinoy Stakeholders’ Forum,’ and dialogued with farmers, fishers and local government officials, led by Governor Esmael Mangudadatu.

TheP24-M DA assistance to beneficiaries, consists of:

·  P7.9-M worth of farm equipment and inputs through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), led by Regional Secretary Sangkula Tindick. The amount included a 95-HP farm tractor for the provincial government from DA-Region 12, led by Dir. Amalia Datukan;

·  P7.3-M worth of farm reservoir, small water impounding projects, and engine pump sets for shallow tube wells, from the DA’s Bureau of Soils and Water Management;

·  P5-M worth of irrigation projects to be undertaken by the DA’s National Irrigation Administration (NIA). The allocation is part of the total 2012 NIA budget for  Maguindanao worth P471 M to rehabilitate and repair existing systems. When completed, these would irrigate an additional 5,327 hectares (has), broken down as: 1,831 has of new areas; 2,061 has of rehabilitated areas; and 1,435 has of restored areas; and

·  P4-M worth of fishery projects, implements and inputs, consisting of boat engines, payaos, a multi-species hatchery, gill nets, and hook and line paraphernalia – from the DA-ARMM Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), led  by Dir. Janice Musali.

Aside from the capital town of Buluan, Secretary Alcala also visited the towns of Talayan, Datu Ondin Sinsuat, and Sultan Kudarat — where he consulted and discussed with farmers, fishers and local government officials collaborative projects to develop their respective agri-fishery resources, and increase their productivity and incomes.

At Talayan, he visited a 150-hectare palm plantation and nursery of the Talayan Agri-Farm Marketing Cooperative chaired by Datu Ali Midtimbang, Sr., and dialogued with hundreds of farmers and local officials, led by Mayor Tungkang Midtimbang.

At Datu Ondin Sinsuat, he visited a rubber nursery and budwood garden and dialogued with farmers and local officials, led by Maguindanao Rep. Bai Sandra Sema.

Finally, in the town of Sultan Kudarat, Secretary Alcala keynoted a farmers’ forum, where he dialogued with thousands of farmers and fisherfolk and local officials, led by Mayor Hadji Tucao Mastura and Vice Governor Datu Dustin Mastura. The DA chief also handed over various agri-fishery projects, machinery, equipment and inputs to Sultan Kudarat farmers’ groups and irrigators’ associations.

As a regular attraction in every site and town hall dialogues, the DA chief raffled off farm and fishery machinery and equipment, livestock animals and farm inputs to lucky attendees.

In Maguindanao, the raffled items consisted of hand tractors with trailers, small fishing boats (bancas) with engines, gill nets, rice and corn seeds, knapsack sprayers, laminated tarpaulins and collapsible dryers, draft carabao with implements, goats and sheeps, and fruit tree seedlings for all attendees.

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