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PIA Press Release

DA vows long-term help for drought-affected farmers

by Ben Moses Ebreo

Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya (February 19) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) is embarking into a long-term package of assistance that would mitigate the economic impact of the El Nino phenomenon among farmers and their families in the country.

Lawyer Bernie Fondevilla, agriculture department undersecretary and chief of staff said a mitigating package of assistance has been proposed before cabinet officials designed to cushion the impact of the dry spell in the countryside.

The package of assistance, he bared features the provision of food subsidy during lean months, food for work program, employment and livelihood programs in collaboration with other government agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Food Authority(NFA), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

"We will give this assistance to our affected farmers and their children. This assistance will last even after the dry spell," he said during a meeting of the Municipal Agriculture Officers(MAOs) Friday(February 19) at the provincial capitol function room here.

According to Fondevilla, aside from the basic assistance of the department, affected farmers will be given employment including their children who will be trained on alternative skills.

He also ordered the fast tracking of masterlisting among affected farmers in Cagayan Valley region which he said must be made available next week as basis on the provision of rehabilitation and relief assistance from the government.

"Help us in identifying real farmer-beneficiaries and let us limit it to those who are truly affected and in need because we have limited resources," Fondevilla said.

The undersecretary said the long-term package of assistance will be provided on April until May this year and can be extended during the duration of drought period.

DA report bared that agricultural losses in Nueva Vizcaya alone have already reached 16,000 metric tons of corn and 5,600 metric tons of rice. (PIA NVizcaya) [top]

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