Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Negros Occidental gets P191M to boost agri, organic farming

Marañon (Watchmen Daily Journal Photo)
The World Bank had allocated P191 million for Negros Occidental after it was chosen as priority province of the national government’s Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP).

Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. stressed that it is a big boost to the province’s agricultural sector and advocacy on organic farming.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for us to feed the whole country. Let the PRDP be a model for all provinces because this will help the underprivileged solve poverty and generate more employment for Negros Occidental,” he said.

The PRDP is a platform that calls for an inclusive, value chain-oriented and climate-oriented agriculture and fisheries sectors. Using the $500 million fund from the World Bank through a 15-year old loan agreement, the national government extended grants for agricultural enhancement programs of qualified local government units.

Negros Occidental was the only local government unit in the Visayas cluster that was chosen as pilot area with muscovado as a priority commodity for development.

Marañon emphasized that rice self-sufficiency remains as his top priority, adding that about 50,000 hectares of rice land are currently irrigated and is expected to expand to 90,000 in the next five years or so.

“The resources of this province are beyond imagination. The agriculture sector is like your three-in-one coffee. It is the key to solving poverty and unemployment,” the governor pointed out, as he cited that the Philippines is the “darling” of agricultural advancement in Asia, and was way ahead of Japan, growth-wise in the 50s and 60s.

“With agriculture, we will solve the problem of Metro Manila. If we develop this sector, Metro Manila will be decongested as people will go back to the provinces,” Marañon added.

The governor is thankful for the support of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, as the latter had committed to help spur the countryside development through the agriculture sector’s modernization.

With the P191 million allocation from World Bank, under the program, Negros Occidental is expected to develop and strengthen its advocacy and interventions in the organic agriculture program, said Larry Nacionales, regional director of the Department of Agriculture.

The P191 million will be allocated for the rehabilitation of Sitio Magtuod to Sitio Vergara Farm to Market Road (FMR) in Toboso with P47,237,317.11; rehabilitation of Barangay Caduhaan to Sitio Aluyan FMR in Cadiz City - P143,758,568; and P500,000 each for the rehabilitation of fishing equipment for blue swimming crab enterprise in Manapla town and the fish coral rehabilitation and fish trading support in Escalante City.

Nacionales said that the WB-funded projects were implemented in the 16 regions in the country, which started in 2013 to 2018.


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