Friday, February 20, 2015

DA partners with 3 entities to accelerate Bicol agricultural development

PILI, Camarines Sur, Feb. 19 (PNA) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) has forged partnerships with three Bicol-based institutions towards the acceleration of agricultural development in the region.

The partnerships, which involve the Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa Sr. Memorial State College of Agriculture and Technology (DEBESMSCAT), the Department of Education (DepEd) regional office and AKO Bicol partylist were formalized with the recent signing of separate memoranda of agreement (MOA).

Each MOA was signed in behalf of the DA by Sec. Proceso Alcala, DEBESMSCAT president Erwin Malto for the college, Regional Director Ramon Abcede for the DepEd and Rep. Christopher Co for the partylist.

DEBESMSCAT is a state agricultural college established in 1952 and operates within its 3,668-hectare main campus of mostly rolling terrain in Mandaon, Masbate, 56.5 kilometers away from Masbate City, the island province’s capital.

The MOA entered into by this school with the DA provides for the upgrading of agricultural education, development of applied agriculture and promoting agri-entrepreneurship—all designed as strategies focused on the advancement of Masbate’s farming and fishery industries.

The partnership between DA and DepEd is for the PapaYaman-C para sa Eskwelang Bikolnon, a convergence project with the Congressional Committee on Bicol Recovery and Development promoting and advocating the importance of papaya and lemon and incorporating them in the feeding programs and diets of school children.

The DA-AKO Bicol partnership, on the other hand, is for the production, processing and distribution to farmers of organic fertilizers out of chicken manure to be sourced from various poultry farms in the region.

The signing of these partnership agreements, according to DA Regional Executive Director Abelardo Bragas here on Thursday was among the highlights of the recently concluded two-day Regional Agri and Fishery Stakeholders’ Summit and Agricultural Extension Workers’ Congress held in Naga City.

The affair was attended by over 1,700 farmer leaders, municipal and city agriculturists, agricultural extension workers (AEWs) and local chief executives from all over Bicol with whom the agriculture secretary had a lively interaction, Bragas said.

It was highlighted by the recognition of and awarding of prizes to 27 AEWs, five local farmer technicians, two local government units (LGUs)—the municipalities of Castilla, Sorsogon and Polangui, Albay-- which were named as 2014 Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers.

The recognition was for their outstanding performance in the implementation of the government’s rice program leading to the region’s climb to the top five among the country’s producing regions last year.

During the same occasion, Alcala turned over various grants of agricultural productivity facilities, farming and fishing paraphernalia to some farmers and fisher folk as well as livelihood projects to rural women organizations coming from various parts of the region worth a total of Php53 million, Bragas said.

One of the agricultural facilities is the Rice Processing Complex (RPC) 2 which was inaugurated and turned over to the Hibiga River Irrigation System Irrigators Association, Inc. (HRSIA) in Barangay Balinad, Polangui, Albay.

Bragas said this facility worth Php16 million is composed of three sets batch re-circulating mechanical rice and corn dryer with six-ton capacity each; a set of multi-pass rice mill with minimum output capacity of 1.2 ton per hour and has a milling recovery of 65 percent; a portable moisture meter for rice and corn; and weighing scale with one-ton capacity.

For this, HRSIA, according to the DA chief, will be provided with cash grants for administrative and capability building worth Pph.5 million and an initial operating expenses of Php2 million.

Alcala also inaugurated the Php6-million RPC 1 constructed by the DA for the San Agustin-San Ramon Farmers Cooperative (SARFC) in Bula, Camarines Sur, which consists of a set of multi-pass mill with minimum output capacity of one ton per hour, portable moisture meter for rice and corn and weighing scale.

The cooperative was also awarded five units of hand tractors worth Php130,000 each and will be given Php1.5 million for administrative costs, capacity building and initial operating expenses, Bragas said.

In the same gathering, Alcala awarded 10 units of four-wheel drive tractor worth Php2 million each to the local governments of Tabaco City and Guinobatan, both in Albay; Lupi, Iriga City and Nabua of Camarines Sur; Aroroy and Uson of Masbate; and Camarines Norte province as well as to DEBESMSCAT and KABACAS Multipurpose Coop of Calabanga, Camarines Sur.

The farming and fishing tools and paraphernalia given to attendees of the grand occasion, Bragas said, were hand tractors with trailers, knapsack sprayers, carabaos, module sheep of four ewes and one ram, certified seeds, hybrid palay seeds, hybrid corn seeds, garden tools and laminated sacks for farmers and 10 units marine engine plus 30 fishing gears for fishermen.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) regional office also handed over Php1-million worth of fishery projects to each of the 10 Bicol LGUs which made it to the top 100 finishers in the National Fisherfolk Registration System which include Legazpi City; the towns of Aroroy, Balud, Cataingan and Placer -- all of Masbate; Sorsogon City and Bulan, province of Sorsogon; and Mercedes, Camarines Norte, Bragas added.(PNA) FFC/FGS/DOC/CBD/PJN