Upland farmers receive P48M worth of projects

THE Department of Agriculture (DA)-6 regional office and the Korea International Agency Cooperation Agency (KOICA) turned over P48 million worth of income generating projects to upland farmers of Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo.

The second phase of the Panay Island Upland Sustainable Rural Development Project (PIU-SRDP) aims to improve the agricultural income of farmers at Brgys. Agcagay, Jamindan, and Camburanan, Tapaz in Capiz; Dao, Umingan, and MaRiLic (Manasa, Cabacanan Rizal and Lico) in Alimodian, Iloilo; and Igburi and Tamayoc in Patnongon, Antique.

DA Regional Technical Director for Operations Manuel O. Olanday and PIU-SRDP Manager Dr. Kim Sang-tae turned over the full ownership of the agricultural-based income generating projects to the eight farmers’ groups during the Second Phase Completion Workshop at Damires Hills Tierra Verde Resort, Janiuay, Iloilo on March 20 to 21, 2018.

“The livelihood project is already completed but will still be continued. The experiences we have on the way we handled this project will be mainstreamed in the DA regular programs. With the help of our farmers, we target to strengthen the farmers’ associations to become cooperatives,” said Olanday.

Chocolatos Philippines, a subsidiary of a chocolate company in Belgium, will open a contract growing for cacao in upland areas, he said.

“In support of environmental protection, we campaign for the practice of sloping agriculture. We target to integrate this cacao planting as an expansion of this project for upland farmers.”

On the other hand, Sang-Tae lauded the farmers and farmer leaders for their hard work and cooperation in the implementation of the project.

“As the second phase has come to its end, planning is very timely in order to prepare for the future of implementation, to ensure that the project is sustained by the farmers’ associations involved in this project,” he added.

Sang-Tae said it is necessary to review the existing plans based on updated information on risk, quality, resources, stakeholders, assumptions, and constraints.

KOICA provided P40.5 million while the DA spent P6.9 million for the second phase project which benefitted 1,213 farmers, including 530 members of the indigenous communities.

In the second phase which started in 2017, the PIU-SRDP provided various production supports to the project beneficiaries. A total of 1,105 bags of rice seeds, 240 bags of corn seeds, 128 kilograms of assorted vegetables, 8,355 bags of fertilizers, 157 heads of goats and various farm machinery and postharvest equipment were distributed to eight farmers associations.

PIU-SRDP, which began in 2015, mainly aims to reduce poverty in the upland communities by addressing their area-specific needs.

The DA and KOICA together with other agencies involved in rural development initiatives will embark on the final phase of PIU-SRDP in the second quarter of this year.

The PIU-SRDP focused on community development and income generation for the first and second phases. The third phase aims to create integrated local agricultural product marketing framework with financial public-cooperative or partnership with farmers’ associations.

Ten Bayanihan Tipon Centers (BTC) will be constructed in Alimodian, Tubungan and Lambunao, Iloilo; Sebaste, Patnongon and Tobias Fornier in Antique; Madalag and Libacao in Aklan; and Jamindan and Tapaz in Capiz province.

The regional local food terminal will be put up in San Miguel, Iloilo.

The local government units involved will donate lots for the BTCs.

“Each center will be constructed in 150 to 250 square-meter lots equipped with office and marketing areas. The centers will be operated by our partner farmers-cooperatives. We will provide them with marketing equipment like crates and weighing scales,” added Park. (Sheila Mae H. Toreno/DA-6 Information)

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