The Department of Agriculture committed to providing more assistance to Negros Occidental in 2021 after Secretary William Dar himself turned over some P450 million worth of programs and projects to various beneficiaries in the province on Tuesday.
Dar, who capped off his 24-hour visit with the awarding of start-up tools for small village engine repair program beneficiaries in this city yesterday, said Negros Occidental is expected to receive about P768-million budget for agriculture in 2021.
“This is allocated for various interventions, programs, and projects of the DA, in partnership with the local governments,” Dar said in his message during the turn-over rights held at the Panaad gymnasium on Tuesday.
Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino said the DA’s commitment will be mainly allocated for farm mechanization, procurement and distribution of farm inputs, and scholarship program for farmers.
“This will be a big boost to the province’s agriculture industry,” he added.
During his visit, the DA chief led the turn-over of cash and food subsidies worth PHP5,000 each or P170 million to about 34,000 Negrense farmers and fisherfolk.
Also, he awarded P202.556 million worth of machinery to various farmer cooperatives and associations (FCAs) and similar organizations.
Of the total project cost, P195 million, which went to 39 FCAs, was funded under the Rice Competitive Enhancement Fund (RCEF) while P7.556 million, which benefited 56 farmers organizations, came from the DA Mechanization Program.
In Cadiz City, Dar turned over two bridge projects totaling P60.3 million under the Philippine Rural Development Program. These included the P23.4-million Dalayapan Bridge in Barangay Caduha-an and the P36.9-million Sicaba Bridge.
In Victorias City, the DA chief signed a memorandum of agreement with Central Philippines State University president Aladino Moraca for the establishment of nurseries for cacao, sweet potato, and bamboo worth P3 million.
Dar also signed an agreement with Binalbagan Mayor Alejandro Mirasol for the implementation of the P5-million Cattle Feedlot Fattening Project under the Stimulus Package for Agriculture of the National Livestock Program.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said the assistance and interventions received by Negros Occidental will provide the needed boost to improve production, optimize the income capacity, and mitigate the debilitating effects of the pandemic to the local agricultural sector. “We are under extraordinary circumstances and such demand extraordinary measures. The critical role of the government in providing the necessary and adequate support to empower and enable our farmers has become more paramount than ever,” he added.*PNA