Agri office extends P41-M rehab aid to Comval farmers-A A +A
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has provided P41-million rehabilitation assistance to high-value crops farmers in the province of Compostela Valley.
DA Regional Director Remelyn Recoter said the assistance is part of the commitment of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala through the agency's Task Force Alayon (cooperation) and High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) to immediately provide assistance to farmers and their families who were greatly affected by Typhoon Pablo.
"Most of the affected farmers in the province are those tending high-value crops such as cacao, banana, coffee, and rubber. We have to immediately provide them assistance so they can recover from such huge losses," Recoter said.
"We also need to fast-track our rehabilitation efforts to ensure that there will be no shortage in production," she added.
During last week's Bulawan Festival, the DA turned over the funding support and to the Provincial Government. A tripartite memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the DA, Provincial Government and private sectors was also forged to hasten various agri-interventions.
Under the cacao rehabilitation program, the DA turned over a total of P13.125-million funds to the Provincial Government for both agencies including the Kennemer Foods Inc., a private company to establish 1,500 hectares of cacao plantations.
Cacao farmers covered by the program can avail themselves of free seedlings, fertilizers, and technical trainings. Another intervention is the cash-for-work scheme of which farmers are now given alternative income while the rehabilitation efforts are ongoing.
"We are also considering cacao to replace abandoned banana plantations infected by the Fusarium wilt or Panama disease," Recoter said.
To ensure a ready market for cacao farmers, DA also facilitated the forging of marketing agreement between the farmers and Kennemer Foods Inc., one of the major buyers of cacao beans in the region.
DA also turned over P3.2 million to the Provincial Government to cover the rehabilitation of 200-hectare coffee plantation. The DA and Provincial Government in partnership with Nestle Philippines will also provide seedlings, fertilizer, training, and cash for work incentives to farmers.
In February this year, DA has initially released P10 million for the rehabilitation of 4,373 hectares banana plantations. These supported the immediate clearing operations for small growers. The second tranche amounting to P11.85 million was also released last week to continue the rehabilitation efforts such as cash-for-work scheme including giving of fertilizer and farm tools.
"This makes our support to banana rehabilitation in Comval to reach almost P22 million and the biggest thus far considering that the commodity is a major dollar earner not only of the region but of the country," Recoter said.
The town of Laak, one of the region's largest areas planted to rubber also received P3 million funding support as rubber plantations in this area had been severely affected by Typhoon Pablo. (PR)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 13, 2013.