Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sec. Alcala Visits Caraga Region -Interact with Farmers, LGU Officials

by: Aurell P. Arais

Butuan City – To come up with more viable projects and programs that truly answer the need of the agricultural sector, Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala visited Caraga Region and conduct meetings with the farmers, local chief executives, NGOs/POs and the local media last January 20 to 22, 2011.

On his three day visit in the region, Secretary Alcala managed to attend various gatherings and meetings with officials from the four provinces and cities of Caraga with the respective provincial and municipal /city officials.

In Agusan del Sur, Butuan City , Surigao del Norte Surigao City and Agusan del Sur , the Secretary attended forum with around three thousand farmers who aired their issues and concerns. Among those mentioned were on irrigation, seeds, pre and post harvest facilities, livestock and fisheries.

In every province that the secretary visited, Alcala turned-over various farm inputs and implements , computer sets, drip irrigation units amounting to more or less P12 million aside from the funding commitments amounting to at least P30M.

The secretary’s visit was highlighted with the conduct of the Caraga Agriculture and Fisheries Council Congress and the High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) National Meeting wherein he was the guest of honor.

Local media practitioners in Butuan City and Surigao City were also able to interact with the secretary during the news conference.

The secretary also spent in a meeting of the members of the Regional Management Committee (RMC) and had dialogue with social action organization and non-government organizations.

Alcala said that every concern from the farmers, local officials and peoples’ organization is vital to come up with a more responsive and realistic approach towards agricultural development. In his pronouncements, he emphasized that his administration plans to attain food sufficiency in 2013 and try to have zero rice importation.

Among of the strategies that will be employed are developing upland rice variety, tapping communities in the uplands especially the indigenous people; promoting the use of hybrid and certified seeds and improving the irrigation system. With this, he ordered Irrigation Administrator, Antonio S. Nangel to come to Caraga within the next two weeks to validate all irrigation concerns in the region and to come up with a comprehensive plan to repair/rehabilitate and complete the construction of irrigation systems that are seen to serve vast areas for rice production.

The marching order of the President, he said is to ensure adequate, affordable safe and sufficient food for every Filipino. (Aurell P. Arais/RAFID DA CARAGA)


Pres. Aquino Turns-over Farm Implements to LGUs in Caraga

by: Aurell P. Arais

Butuan City – His Excellency President Benigno Simeon Aquino III turned-over various farm machineries and inputs to four provinces and one city in Caraga region that was recently ravaged by flood during his visit last January 14, 2011 at Bancasi Airpot, this city.

Together with DA Caraga Regional Director Reinerio B. Belarmino, Jr., President Aquino handed the certificates of turn-over to Butuan City through City Mayor Ferdinand Amante, Jr., Province of Agusan del Norte received by Governor Erlpe John Amante, Agusan del Sur through Governor Adolph Edward Plaza, Surigao del Sur through Governor Johnny Pimentel and Surigao del Norte through Vice Governor Arturo Carlos Egay.

Each recipient local government unit received the agricultural inputs that include three pump and engine sets, 200 bags of certified seeds and two boxes assorted vegetable seeds.

The said inputs will augment the effort of each LGU to help its constituent particularly farmers to start anew after affected by flood.

Aside from agricultural inputs, the president also turned over medicines and relief goods.

Aquino visited Caraga Region to see for himself the extent of damaged brought by the recent flood. However, due to limited time the president just stay at the closed door presidential briefing done by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council at Civil Aviation Authority Office at Bancasi Airport.

Based on the said presidential briefing presented by Regional Director Blanche Gobenciong of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Caraga, the damaged done by recent flood on the agriculture sector are the following: cereal crops which are rice and corn has a total estimated cost of P72,493,282.00; for other crop like vegetables, banana, rootcrops, including all other crops which are not cereal crops the total estimated cost of damaged was P14,806,543.00.

In livestock the total value of losses reached to P3,426,710.00 while on fisheries the total value of losses recorded P16,725,000.00 and in irrigation system the cost of damaged was P58 million.

Agusan del Sur is the hardest hit in terms of damaged to agriculture with an estimated cost of P105,595,224.00 followed by Agusan del Norte with P27,850,186.00; Surigao del Sur recorded 21,327,350.00; Surigao del Norte reached to P10,501,875.00 and Dinagat Islands recorded P346,100.00.

In summary as per OCD report, the cost of damage to agriculture in the whole region reached to P165,620,535.00. (Aurell P. Arais/RAFID DA CARAGA)