Thursday Feb, 20 2020 07:42:36 PM

DA awards P38-M projects to Tantangan farmers

AGRICULTURE • 09:00 AM Sat Jan 25, 2020
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Lito Mariano Salvo/DA-XII
Agriculture Secretary Dr. William D. Dar leads the distribution of PhP5,000 cash assistance to South Cotabato farmers on January 23 during the 59th Founding Anniversary cum Farmers' Day celebration of the municipality of Tantangan.

TANTANGAN, South Cotabato - The Department of Agriculture (DA) surprised farmers of Tantangan in South Cotabato with more than PhP38-million worth of projects as they celebrated their town’s 59thfounding anniversary Thursday.

Agriculture Secretary Dr. William "Manong Willie" Dar personally awarded the multi-million agricultural projects to the local government unit, farmers’ associations and individual farmers.

The Rice Program distributed more than PhP2.34-m worth of farm machines and other production inputs. More than PhP1.52-m worth of certified seeds was provided by the Philippine Rice Research Institute.

The Bottom-up Budgeting Program amounting to PhP7.8-m from the Department of the Interior and Local Government was turned-over to the LGU headed by Mayor Benjamin Figueroa, Jr.

The Organic Agriculture Program provided upland rice worth PhP12,000; the High Value Crops Development Program distributed plastic crates worth PhP50,000 and the Livestock Program provided native pigs worth PhP225,000.

More than 700 farmers also received PhP5,000 cash each from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) for the initial release of the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) Program in the province.

Assisting the secretary in distributing these agricultural projects were Undersecretary Zamzamin Ampatuan, Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes, DA XII Regional Executive Director Milagros Casis and DBP Senior Vice-President Antonio Owen Maramag.

Dar urges ‘millenials’ to go into agri

Secretary Dar said that the DA has created programs that would attract young people to venture into agriculture.

He said that the agency has set aside PhP500-m which will be used to fund PhP500,000 start-up grants to young individuals who have good proposals about agribusiness.

“The grantees will be mentored by private and public universities, as well as established practitioners in the agribusiness,” he added.    

Interested young individuals aged 18 to 30 can loan up to PhP500,000 under the Youth Agrineurship Loan Program with zero interest that they can use to establish a viable agribusiness.

“We also have program for micro and small entrepreneurs who want to further develop their business with a PhP15-m zero-interest loan,” the secretary added.

Dar hopes Tantangan farmers’ income rises with P24.4-M water facility

Before speaking to thousands of farmers at the municipal grounds, Secretary Dar visited Bukay Pait Small Water Impounding Project in Barangay Bukay Pait.

The project which is expected to serve more than 120 hectares of rice areas is worth more than PhP24.4-m.

"Sana mas tumaas pa ang inyong ani at kita dahil sa proyektong patubig na ito," Dar said.

Emilio Ignacio, Bukay Pait Small Water Irrigation Association, Inc. president said they are only harvesting 75 to 80 sacks per hectare (main crop) because they heavily rely on rainwater.

“Kapag ma-kompleto na itong proyekto, siguradong mas tataas na ang aming produksiyon hanggang 90 to 100 sacks per hectare,” he said. "Maraming-maraming salamat DA sa pagbibigay ninyo ng ganitong proyekto para maiangat ang buhay naming mga magsasaka."

The Bukay Pait SWIP was constructed in 1998 when Dar first served as agri chief under the Estrada Administration, but it became non-operational in early 2000. In 2017, the SWIP rehabilitation was approved and funded by the DA in Region XII.

The project includes a diversion dam with 876-meter canal lining generating an 18-hectare service area at the upper stream level. The excess water will be impounded to the SWIP in addition to the rainwater harvested by the system. It also has a three-kilometer canal lining and design service area of 74 hectares. If the scheduling of irrigation water usage is properly managed, the Bukay Pait SWIP can serve more than one hundred hectares of rice fields. (Lito Mariano Salvo)

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