MANILA–The Department of Agriculture (DA) has extended Php307 billion worth of agricultural interventions to farmers and fisher folk in four provinces in Panay to further boost food production in the country.
The provinces are Antique, Aklan, Capiz and Iloilo.
In a statement, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said a total of 68 kilometers of farm-to-market roads will be built in San Remigio, the poorest town in Antique, to connect it to commercial centers.
Piñol also provided Php69.28 million in agricultural support for the province’s farmers and fisher folk in Culasi town in Antique.
In Jamindan, Capiz, the agriculture chief extended 1,000 fingerings and 1,550 different fruit-bearing trees, which could be planted in arable land inside the military camp.
He noted the produce could feed the camp’s soldiers as well as provide affordable food for people living in surrounding areas.
Major General Jon Aying, commander of 3rd Infantry Spearhead Division of the Philippine Army, offered 33,000 hectares inside the camp to be used for agri-fisheries, an endeavor that could help alleviate local poverty, which he said was a major source of unrest in the surrounding areas.
While visiting Iloilo, Piñol stressed that he was focusing on agricultural technology, financing and marketing as the main factors that would help achieve the goal of food self-sufficiency during the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Piñol also extended Php102 million worth of agricultural support for Iloilo, some Php3 million of which came from the fund of Sen. Loren Legarda, raising the total of agricultural support he brought to Panay to Php307 million.
He opened the Research and Development Center for Organic Agriculture in Iloilo, which will serve as training and demo area for farmers, fisherfolk, students, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders interested in organic agriculture.
This will encourage more farmers to shift to organic farming, which ultimately will help boost food production, the agriculture chief further said.