PBBM vows more help to agri sector

CANDABA -- President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. vowed to help boost the production of the agriculture sector amidst the threat of El Niño.

Marcos made the assurance when he visited the farmers of Barangay Mandili here on Saturday.

The president led the ceremonial harvesting using the Rice Combine Harvester (RCH).

Marcos said the agriculture sector logged a 1.5% increase in rice production in 2023 with over 20 metric tons of palay produced.

He attributed this success to the continuous distribution of high-quality seeds and extensive fertilizer support from the government.

"Ngunit, habang tayo ay nagdiriwang ng ating tagumpay, mahalaga rin na kilalanin natin ang mga hamon na ating haharapin.

Andiyan po ang El Nin~o na kasalukuyang nagdudulot ng malawakang pinsala at perwisyo sa ating mga pananim at sa ating mga magsasaka. Inaasahan nating titindi pa hanggang sa susunod na buwan ng Pebrero," Marcos said.

He assured farmers that the national government, under the Department of Agriculture, is actively developing programs to alleviate the impact of the dry spell.

He said the government will distribute more solar-powered irrigation systems to provide a steady supply of water to an additional 180,000 hectares of rice land with an estimated yield of 1.2 million metric tons of palay.

He added that the government set aside P31 billion this year for DA’s national rice program, which will be allocated for post-harvest facilities, extension services, research and development, and irrigation services.

Marcos added that some P10 billion is also earmarked for Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) in 2024 to purchase machinery and equipment, rice seeds, extension service and credit assistance.

"Asahan ninyo na sasamahan kayo ng ating pamahalaan sa inyong mga pagsisikap, nang makamit ninyo ang lahat ng inyong mga mithiin at mga pangarap," Marcos said.

Marcos distributed some P22 million worth of farm inputs and equipment, rice seeds, fertilizer vouchers, post-harvest facilities, and financial capital to farmers cooperatives.

Assistance were also provided to farmers for hog repopulation to address the adverse impact on the industry of the African Swine Fever.

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