Agriculture tops Siquijor gov's concern
by Rizalie A. Calibo
Siquijor (27 September) -- Governor Orlando Fua, Jr makes agriculture a top priority in his administration along with President Arroyo's effort to make farming more profitable for farmers and other small agricultural stakeholders.
Fua said working on the socio economic side has always been the concern of the provincial government. He said providing farm inputs and biotechnology to farmers is one of the roadways to increase food production and rural income.
This was made strong with Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap's emphasis on the government's need to pump more capital into irrigation systems, postharvests facilities, farm inputs and research extension programs to make the lands they till more productive and enable them to reap greater harvest at the recent hearing of the proposed 2008 DA budget.
(R to L) Siquijor Governor Orlando Fua, Elnard Ympal, the province's National Outstanding Young Farmer Awardee and San Juan Mayor Edwin Quimno.
"Farmers should also be given more access to rural credit and provided assistance in opening more markets for their produce here and abroad to raise their incomes and secure a more stable future for their families," Yap said.
One of the governor's initial plans is to put up a Bio-N factory in the province which manufactures nitrogen-enhancing fertilizer at a fraction of the cost of that in the open market.
"Through this corn and rice can soon be grown extensively in Siquijor. It is envisioned to provide economic benefits to the people," he said.
Fua however, admitted the problem of perennial shortage of funding as the province is entitled to only a fixed allocation of the IRA. But we can overcome this through linking with the national agencies so we can get assistance from their own budgetary allocations, he said. Among those he mentioned were the Road User's Fund and school building fund of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Agrarian Reform's fund, the KALAHI-CIDSS funding for the delivery of basic social services and infrastructure in Siquijor and Enrique Villanueva and linking hands closely with the congressional fund of Cong. Fua.
Claiming to be a farmer himself, Gov. Fua said he is influenced by the kind of people he encountered like the farmer, fisherman and the ordinary folks in Siquijor. "I am grateful having them as my friends and supporters. I get inspired when someone from them pays a compliment that I am doing my job fairly well," he said. (PIA/with Eda Lou Tangapa) [top]