DUMAGUETE CITY, Negros Oriental, Sept. 9 (PIA) -- To avert issues on food security brought by the rising prices of commodities, the Provincial Government of Negros Oriental is strengthening its efforts to bring down the cost of farming while increasing the yield of farmers and supply of food in the province.
Capitol Public Information Officer Oliver Lemence and Provincial Agriculturist Wilmencita Pialogo emphasized this in a press conference held Sept. 7 at the Capitol Media Center, this city.
Pialogo said the Provincial Agriculturist Office (PAO), under the direction of the province’s local chief executive, will roll out programs to help farmers on land preparation, application of fertilizers, mechanization, and marketing.
For rice and corn farmers, Pialogo said the PAO is coordinating with PhilRice, Department of Agriculture (DA), and local seed growers for the provision of quality seeds so that farmers would not be delayed this planting season.
PAO is ensuring these agencies will be able to meet the province’s demand for quality rice and corn seeds.
She noted that the province’s current yield of rice is 32%, which is not enough to meet the demand for rice here.
In terms of fertilizer assistance, the PAO will be distributing two bags of fertilizer per hectare per farmer.
Aside from this, Pialogo said Gov. Pryde Henry Teves also allocated a budget for the procurement of farming mechanizations to improve the land preparation measures of farmers.
“(They will be given) other farm equipment kanang pag-tilling na and even after the reaping kanang pag-harvest pod. Tabangan ang mga farmers na ma-reduce ang ilahang production cost para at the end of their cropping, naa sab sila makita maayong resulta sa ilahang pag-uma (They will be given other farm equipment to help in the tilling until the reaping or harvesting of their crops. We would like to help reduce the production cost of farmers so that they can experience better farming results after their cropping),” Pialogo said.
The provincial government already purchased 45 tractors to be given to rice, corn, and vegetable farmers, and the provincial government will buy six mini dump trucks to help transport the produce from the uplands to the market.
The PAO will also embark on a collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry to help farmers put value in their products.
If translated to monetary value, Pialogo and Lemence said each farmer can avail of assistance up to P34,000 from the provincial government covering the land preparation and cropping up to harvest.
Recipients of the said programs are farmers who have been identified by the provincial government through accredited farmer associations and those who have been enrolled at the National Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA).
Other individual farmers are encouraged to become a member of any farmers’ association or register at RSBSA to avail of the said assistance.
The provincial government has allocated P370-M to P400-M for its agriculture programs for this year.
Governor Pryde Henry Teves has repeatedly emphasized that increasing agricultural productivity is one of the key priorities of his administration.
“Iya gipanglantawan there will be an inflation, unya ang number one problem is food security. Kung dili maatiman ang mga farmer, dako kaayong epekto sa peace and order sa province (The governor is predicting there will be an inflation and the number one problem is food security. If we will not take care of the farmers, this will affect the peace and order situation in the province),” Lemence said.
Upland Fish Production
The governor also wants to strengthen the upland fisheries in the province to increase protein source for NegOrenses.
Pialogo said PAO is targeting to establish 100 tilapia ponds in Siaton, Tanjay City, and Ayungon.
The provincial government will provide backhoes for excavation, but for areas that cannot be reached by backhoes, the province will give P30,000 assistance for manual excavation.
PAO will also provide 10 bags of feeds good for two croppings for tilapia farmers.
Aside from this, PAO is also proposing to develop 100 hectares of land in the said areas for a rice and fishery enterprise.
Pialogo explained that through this initiative, the province can showcase that rice fields and tilapia fishponds can also exist alongside each other. (RAL/PIA7 NEGROS ORIENTAL)