Siquijor Agricultural Enhancement

Siquijor dads pour more funds for agricultural enhancement program

by Rizalie A. Calibo

In the face of a looming global food crunch, Siquijor dads are hitting the bull’s eye when they announced Friday their package of interventions programs to guarantee agriculture’s growth and food security in the province.

Provincial Governor Orlando “Shane” Fua Jr. said he has set aside P3M from this year’s budget for agricultural enhancement program that includes Fishery (Bantay-Dagat), livestock and crops  from which P800 thousand will go to the procurement of seeds and fertilizer.

And very timely so, the newly established Bio-N Mixing Plant which he said is his ‘favored project’ surely gets its share from the P800 thousand, says Gov. Fua.

This, he said, is an add-on to his father’s (Congressman Orlando B. Fua) pledge of another P1 million from his Congressional fund  to assure the local Bio-N producers of a ready market. Cong. Fua said  all local farmers should get a taste to prove how effective the local product is, and to get them to it, the first three months production of the Bio-N should be given for free. And that is where the P1 million goes, he said.

Not only this, the Congressman promised to buy more solar pumps in addition to the two pumps already with the provincial government and urged other heads of other agencies to write to their respective departments concerning the province’s need for more solar pumps to boost the province’s farm production.

He said farmers are already equipped with knowledge and have learned new technologies but all these need devices to work well. Fua, however admitted “everything is in God’s hand,’ adding  that God’s mercy should be coupled with man’s initiative to make use of the resources to the fullest.

He said, Siquijor is blessed with water and yet a number of places on the island are without it. Solar pumps, he said,  answer to the province’s decades-old problem on water. A solar pump produces the most water when it is needed the most—when the weather is sunny and dry.

All these are in tandem with the national governments effort to invest on agriculture as spelled out during the recent National Food Summit. A visiting official of the United Nation’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (UN-IFAD) also stressed that  “the government’s policy is very much on track, and pretty much consistent” with his recommendations to wit: investment in irrigation rehabilitation, investment in infrastructure in rural areas, investment in rural finance, investment in institution building, building a local municipal government, local government, farmers organizations so that the farmers can deal with these problems themselves. Investment in agricultural processing and marketing, input supply.”

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had unveiled in the National Food Summit package of intervention programs dubbed FIELDS to keep agriculture and fisheries on its high growth course.  "FIELDS" stands for the six areas of support to which Malacanang will funnel a total of P43.7 billion in government support—Fertilizer, Irrigation and Infrastructure, Education and training of farmers and fisherfolk, Loans, Dryers and other postharvest and facilities, and Seeds of the high-yielding, hybrid varieties.

The President's series of initiatives under her FIELDS program cover the following:

1.  P500 million for fertilizer support from the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF), with special focus on the use of organic fertilizers;

2.  P6 billion for irrigation, with the goal of rehabilitating all irrigation systems that need to be repaired or rehabilitated by 2010;

3.  6 billion for farm-to-market roads and other rural infrastructure like roll-on roll-off (RORO) ferry terminals;

4.  P5 billion for training of farmers on new technologies and research and development (R&D) on how to increase yields and lower production costs. Of this amount, P2 billion will be used for R&D, and P1 billion each for capacity building programs, trainers training, and the agriculture and fisheries education system;

5.  P15 billion in credit for farmers, fisherfolk and other small rural borrowers, which is on top of the P5 billion she had earlier ordered the Land Bank to make available to rice farmers. For small borrowers to better access such funds, President Arroyo said she will ask Congress to write new legislation allowing farmers to use their lands as loan collateral in banks;

6.  P2 billion for dryers and other postharvest support like storage facilities; and

7.  P9.2 billion for hybrid and certified seed production and subsidies until 2010, of which P6.5 billion will be set aside for the use of certified seeds and P2.7 billion for hybrid seeds. The target is to plant certified seeds in 600,000 hectares this year and hybrid seeds in 900,000 hectares over the 2009-2010 period.

Siquijor Congressman Orlando B. Fua Siquijor Governor Orlando

Sharing the same passion to farming, Siquijor Congressman Orlando B. Fua (standing above) and his sons Governor Orlando “Shane Fua" and Lazi Mayor Orville Fua are pouring bigger bulk of their funds for agricultural enhancement. Their recent announcement of their package of intervention  that guarantees agriculture’s growth and food security in the province brings wider smiles to the farmer folks of the province.

Provincial Governor Orlando “Shane” Fua Jr.

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