AGRICULTURE Secretary Manny Piñol, during his visit to Kalinga last week, pushed for the conversion of marijuana plantations to coffee farms through the Production Loan Easy Access (Plea).
A brainchild of Piñol, Plea is a program for Filipino farmers wherein they can avail of a loan to finance their farms. Together with this is a national identification (ID) card system “Juan Magsasaka National Farmers Registration Monitoring ID.”
The pilot program will be rolled out this year with Kalinga being the second province for implementation.
A household can loan a maximum amount of P20,000 per hectare of land for coffee farming which is payable in six years, double the time of coffee maturity. This is to encourage people to transition from marijuana farming.
Tinglayan will be the priority municipality, specifically the village of Loccong. A total of 10,000 Arabica coffee seedlings was awarded to the Loccong Gardeners Association to start with.
In line with this, Piñol will also be giving native pigs to the region as an additional livelihood while waiting for seedlings to grow. In exchange, trichanthera must be planted in the province which can serve is a substitute for commercial feeds and less costly.
In addition, Mayor Sacrament Gumilab of Tinglayan requested for the construction of a P90 million Tulgao-Loccong-Buscalan farm to market road which leads to more than 85 hectares of marijuana plantation.
Piñol approved the proposal with Governor Jocel Baac promising 10 percent counterpart, which equals to P900,000.
He hopes marijuana farmers in Kalinga will forget their ways and switch to a more viable and sustainable farming like coffee.(PR)