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DA Allots P52 M for Agri, Fishery Projects in Catanduanes

The Department of Agriculture has allotted P52 million for agriculture and fishery infrastructure and livelihood projects, and farm equipment to further increase the productivity and incomes of farmers and fisherforlk in the island-province of Catanduanes.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said that, of the total amount, P12 million was allotted for farm and fishery projects, equipment and inputs, which he handed over to beneficiaries during his visit to island province from April 9 to 10.

The bulk of the fund, amounting to P40 million, is allotted for irrigation, a farm-to-market road (FMR), a tramline, a multi-species fish hatchery, and aquasilviculture projects.

Of the amount, P30 million will be used to complete a communal irrigation system in Baniaga, Bato, that will irrigate 91 hectares and benefit 185 farmer families. Secretary Alcala instructed National Irrigation Administrator Antonio Nangel to fast track the project, where an initial P15 million will be spent this year, and the balance next year.

The DA will also spend P3 million to extend an existing tramline system in Barangay Sipi, Bato, and replace its carrier with a bigger one to transport not only farm products but also persons. The tramline system, similar to a zipline with a carriage, is used to transport abaca hemp and fiber, and other farm products. The tramline was constructed by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), under the DA. The DA will also construct an access road as part of the tramline project.

Furthermore, the DA, through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), will establish a multi-species community hatchery and aquasilviculture project in Barangay Batalay, in Bato, where Secretary Alcala planted mangrove propagules. He urged Bato Mayor Eulogio Rodriguez to develop the area as an agrotourism site, with the DA providing appropriate technical assistance and training.

Secretary Alcala also encouraged Catanduanes Governor Joseph C. Cua to consider putting up a grain-processing center. The DA will provide P15 million for the project, while the provincial government has to counterpart a one-hectare lot for the facility. When completed, it will have a multi-pass rice mill, a dryer, and a service truck.

During a farmers’ forum, Secretary Alcala raffled off various farm equipment and inputs to lucky farmer-attendees. The prizes included three hand tractors with trailers, three palay threshers, two motorized banca, two motor engines, five draft carabaos with plow and harrow, 100 bags of certified rice seeds, nine gill nets, three fish cage nets, and 10 multiple fishing handlines. As a token of appreciation, Secretary Alcala also gifted all the 11 Catanduanes mayors with one shallow tube well each.

The DA chief also visited Masbate to lead the opening ceremonies of the Rodeo Masbateño festival. He also inspected a small water impounding project (SWIP) in Potot, Milagros, which was recently repaired by the DA-NIA, at a cost of P6 million. While in Masbate, he also asked the provincial government through Governor Rizalina Seachon-Lañete to consider putting up a grains processing center, with the LGU providing a one-hectare lot as counterpart.

During his sorties in Catanduanes, Secretary Alcala was joined by Governor Cua, Representative Cesar Sarmiento, Vice Governor Jose Teves, Jr., Ako Bicol Partylist Representatives Alfredo A. Garbin Jr. and Christopher S. Co, NIA Administrator Nangel, Director Silvino Tejada of the DA-Bureau of Soils and Water Management, PhilMech Director Ricardo Cachuela, and Administrator Cecilia Gloria Soriano of the DA-Fiber Industry Development Authority.

Also present were DA Bicol regional officials led by Director Dayao, DA regional technical directors Ellen de los Santos and Edgar Madrid, BFAR director Dennis del Socorro, NIA Director William Ragodon, FIDA Director Edith Lomerio, Director Eduardo Allorde of the Philippine Coconut Authority, Director Cora Realubit of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, and Director Efren Sabularse of the Agricultural Training Institute.


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