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PIA Press Release
Monday, January 02, 2012


Feature: Batac’s agri sector a boost to local economy

by Cristina Arzadon

BATAC CITY, Jan. 2 (PIA) –- The city’s agricultural sector continues to be a major contributor to local economy with steady farm subsidies that the city government has been allocating.

Batac Mayor Jeffrey Nalupta said the farming sector gets the biggest slice in the city’s budget to support projects and services that are extended to farming communities and families.

He said except for destructive typhoons that hit the province early into the wet cropping season of 2011, the previous year brought minimal rains which fell below farmers’ expected irrigation needs.

“(Despite the minimal rainfall) good and bountiful harvests were realized, (we had) good farm gate prices for all the major crops in the city, contributing further to the very vibrant domestic economy in Batac,” he said.

Nalupta said Batac’s farmlands are mostly rain-fed and largely depend on the abundance of impounded and irrigation water.

He said a major setback that the farming sector faced was when the Department of Agriculture stopped subsidizing palay and hybrid seeds that have been previously granted making it difficult for farmers to pay in full their planting requirements.

To offset the subsidy cut, the city government extended close to P600,000 for inbred palay and hybrid palay seeds.

On top of that, more than P200,000 worth of hybrid vegetable seeds were distributed while eight units of Kubota water pumps were bought using counterpart funds from the city government.

For the first time, the city government embarked on the program of establishing pilot/demonstration farms in practically all rural barangays for the planting and production of “Davao lakatan” and “cardaba” varieties of banana.

The plantlets, sourced from the Institute of Plant Breeding of the University of the Phillippines, Los Baños, intend to lower Batac’s dependency from other provinces for its banana supply.

The following agricultural services were also delivered:

-Pilot testing of three varieties of ginger in six rural barangays. The planting materials were sourced from Nueva Vizcaya and Carasi to create more livelihood opportunities for upland farmers;

-With the help of BFAR Aparri and BFAR Tanay, Rizal, the city government continues to find ways and means of increasing the production of tilapia and other varieties of fish for domestic consumption;

-The “concrete hatcheries,” which were earlier established at the Magnuang and Pimentel dams are finally producing fingerlings which farmers can use and share to other barangays for them to venture in tilapia production;

- Six colonies of bees were given to farmer-recipients in Brgy. Pimentel to continue their livelihood project and augment their family incomes;

-Many irrigation projects that were breached and destroyed by typhoons were rehabilitated; and water systems installed in a number of sites;

-Trainings on fish cage design and construction; sweet potato processing; mango processing; tomato processing; and other skills trainings for the women, the youth, and the out-of-school were conducted during the year;

-Establishment of clustered “techno demo farms” in palay and “farmers’ field schools” continued to be extended and established in collaboration with agencies of the Department of Agriculture;

-And the first ever “solar powered water pump” in the province, a grant from the government of Iksan City in South Korea was installed in Brgy. Camandingan. (ANL/CCA-PIA 1 Ilocos Norte)

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