Agri office focuses on rehab of irrigation, farm facilities-A A +A
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is now focusing on rehabilitation of small irrigation systems, postharvest and other farm facilities.
This was bared by DA Assistant Secretary Dante Delima during the recent meeting of the Task Force Alayon, tasked to coordinate with the local government units in mapping out, implementation and accounting of all interventions and rehabilitation efforts for the damage wrought by Typhoon Pablo in the provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and Davao del Norte late last year.
Delima said that after the delivery of seeds and other planting materials for plantings of cash crops in the areas damaged by Pablo, DA is now focusing its major efforts on the rehabilitation or construction of small farm facilities that have short gestating periods or those that entail minimal construction or rehabilitation cost, but has the capacity to service a wider area or could benefit a greater number of farmers.
These include small water impounding projects (SWIPs) Community Irrigation Systems (CIS), shallow tube wells, rice and corn mills, and other postharvest facilities.
Delima said that as early as the next day after the calamity, DA has already started delivery of rice seeds and other planting materials to some of the typhoon-affected areas.
"So far, as of January 28, our total actual interventions have reached more than P173 million for DA's four banner programs - rice, high value crops, livestock and corn," Delima said.
"For rice, total actual interventions has now reached around P87 million, comprising of certified rice seeds of almost 16,000 bags, several hundred bags of upland rice seeds, rice farm machineries and implements such as tractors and bao-bao, and small water impounding projects and shallow tube wells, among others," Delima added.
For the high value crops, total DA interventions has reached more than P47 million, including vegetable seeds of the "pinakbet" type; cacao seedlings; and farm tools such as spade and bolo, among others.
Livestock actual interventions on the other hand is pegged at more than P29 million, comprising of stocks of native chicken; native pigs; carabaos with plows and harrows; breeder goats; pasture development; and biologics.
For corn, total interventions is estimated at P10.5 million which comprises of corn seeds of Open Pollinated Varieties or white corn varieties, and post harvest facilities.
Delivery of root crops planting materials such as sweet potato and cassava is also covered by this program, Delima said.
Although the agency is now focusing on the rehabilitation and construction of farm facilities, Delima is quick to mention that delivery of seeds and other planting materials for cash crops is still included in its rehabilitation activities, to be done as the need arises.
Citing the instances of recent flooding in some rice fields, especially in Montevista, Compostela Valley, Delima assures that DA has enough buffer stock of rice seeds to replant these flooded areas, if necessary.
Other interventions include farm tractor services, including fuel cost and food allowances for the operators, and food for work and cash for work programs, some of which were implemented by the LGUs, while some are implemented in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Total damages to the agriculture sector wrought by Pablo was estimated at P30.5 billion and DA is asking for P1.8 billion to fund its rehabilitation activities. Of the P1.8 billion needed, a total of P620 million has been allocated by DA, with P230 million from its 2012 budget plus another P390 million from the agency's Quick Response Fund (QRF) for the current year.
Every year, DA is allocating a total of P500 million QRF for the 16 Regions of the country. The balance of the requested fund will come from the national government, subject to the approval of the Department of Budget and Management. (PR)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 05, 2013.