DA steps up efforts to put 'five pillars' on solid ground
Roxas City (14 February) -- The aggressive efforts of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to strengthen existing export markets and tap new ones for agricultural products are in step with its Five-Pillar program.
The program adopted last year by Secretary Arthur Yap covers higher public spending on (1) infrastructure, (2) technology and extension services, and (3) postharvest and storage facilities; and (4) expanding access to rural credit, and (5) opening new markets here and overseas for Philippine agro-fishery products.
Last February 12, the DA signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI) and of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and a private sector-led Export Development Council (EDC) to promote agricultural and fishery products overseas in a bid to find new markets for indigenous farm goods and raise the incomes of Filipino exporters and growers.
Under the agreement, the four entities agreed to pool their resources and efforts to expand existing markets and tap new ones for Philippine farm exports through, among others, the exchange of information pertaining to production, export and investment opportunities, market access issues, and expertise in promoting agri-fishery products.
Yap said the program to sustain and accelerate farm growth and raise the profitability of agriculture for its small stakeholders is in compliance with the mandate by President Arroyo under her Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan for the DA to focus on attaining food security and creating jobs especially in the countryside. The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) here said there are nine other projects under the Diversified Farm Income and Market Development Project (DFIMDP) of the Department of Agriculture that are ongoing or lined up in the province as part of DA's "Five-Pillar" program.
In Capiz, the DA has initiated several farm-to-market road projects in line with its Five-Pillar Program to make it easier for local farmers to bring their produce to the market. One such project costing P5 million, has been completed in the municipality of Panay.
Provincial Agriculturist Sylvia De la Cruz said there are other ongoing projects under the program to include the Packaging Machine of Capiz Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Inc., Mechanical Dryer of TQB (Barangays Tuburan, Quevedo and Bombongan) Multi-Purpose Cooperative of the municipality of Maayon, and another Farm-to-Market Road in the municipality of Dumalag.
Projects that are lined up for bidding include the Refrigerated Van of CMPCI and a Farm-to-Market Road in the municipality of Pres. Roxas.
Documents for two other projects, namely a Trucking Service Facility for Mambusao Cooperatives Federation in the municipality of Mambusao and another Farm-to-Market Road in the municipality of Jamindan are being processed.
Philippine agriculture grew 4.68% in 2007, hitting the government's original forecast of a 4%-5% full-year expansion range with key subsectors posting ample or higher-than-expected yields.
The volume of production for agriculture and fisheries combined went up 4.68% in 2007, leading to a year-on-year incremental increase in value to P971-8 billion at current prices, according to the DA's Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS).
Yap said that President Arroyo's recent order for a "surge" in infrastructure buildup will help sustain farm growth this year because it will mean much higher public investments in, among others, irrigation works and postharvest facilities, which are key elements of the DA's five-point growth agenda. (PIA-JSC) [top]