Info assistance unit for fishers, farmers

A NEW unit to assist farmers, fishermen and stakeholders prepare a project proposals for funding and support is set to be established January next year.

Agriculture secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol announced in his Facebook post last Monday, December 12, that the unit dubbed as Alalay sa Magsasaka at Mangingisda (Alamm) office will be created by the Department of Agriculture (DA) including its regional offices, bureaus, agencies and all its attached corporations.

Piñol signed last Monday a Memorandum effective December 12 on this matter. The unit is seen to enlighten farmers, fishermen and other stakeholders on what assistance and support they could get from government.

The recommendation to create this unit, he said, came from the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries which is composed by representatives of stakeholders groups all over the country now headed by executive director Sarah Cayona.

“The proposal is a result of the concern which I have repeatedly expressed during public consultations and meetings on the failure of government to extend a helping hand to farmers and fisher folks who are asking for projects from the DA,” Piñol said in a statement.

He added since he assumed office, he constantly received countless messages in his mobile phone and Facebook page from farmers, fishermen, overseas Filipino workers and agriculture and fisheries stakeholders asking for help to start a livelihood project.

“By not being able to respond, I feel pity to those who really need help from the DA on how to start their projects. They have beautiful proposals and the DA has the funds to support these but since they do not know how to present their ideas, they end up getting nothing from government,” Piñol said.

With the creation of Alamm, farmers, fisher folks and stakeholders will only have to go to the different DA offices, regional units, and attached corporations and relate what they would like to propose.

Explaining on how it will work, Piñol emphasized that under the new unit, the staff of Alamm will assist farmers and fisher folks in making project proposals, including loan proposals under the Unified Lending Program for Agriculture program of the Agriculture Credit Policy Council or government financing institutions like the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund and Land Bank and Development Bank of the Philippines.

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