NEDA-KR2 project gets RTR a national award
by Gemima A. Olam
Butuan City (23 June) -- A team of national evaluators visited the Municipality of Remedios T. Romuladez (RTR), Agusan del Norte on June 15-16, 2009 for the final assessment of the town's merits for the Department of Agriculture Secretary's award for outstanding organic agriculture.
The assessment is based on the criteria set by the Bureau of Agriculture and Fishery Product Standard. Out of seven nominees, RTR is one of the two national finalists. The municipality of Surallah, South Cotabato is the other contender for the title.
The NEDA-KR2 Productivity Enhancement Program (NEDA-KR2-PEP) is part of this success having granted to RTR an amount of P1 million to support its initiative in organic rice farming.
The project started with one hundred ten farmer beneficiaries through loan assistance amounting to P10,000 for each farmer. From P1,000,000, the seed capital has now grown to P1,430,000 which already benefited a total of 130 farmers in the barangays of Poblacion 1 and 2, Panaytayon, Humilog, Tagbongabong, Basilisa and Balangbalang.
The productivity level of the farmers has improved from 4-5 tons/hectare to 5-6 tons/hectare and they have also enjoyed an increased farm income of P40,000/hectare to P55,000/hectare. These are key indicators of development in the lives of the farmers which indicate their achievement of a higher level of self-sufficiency. The farmers themselves during said evaluation expressed how the shift to organic farming have benefited them through lower production cost and further enriching the soil. They also appreciated the support provided by the LGU like training, monitoring, infrastructure support and provision of loan assistance at a much lower interest rate through the NEDA KR2 project.
The presence of RD Carmencita S. Cochingco as a reactor during the evaluation process also strengthened the chances of RTR to be selected as the national awardee especially when she affirmed that the LGU of RTR through Mayor Nilo Soliva and the Municipal Agriculture Office, is among the most active and effective LGU partners of NEDA with its outstanding performance in the implementation of the KR2 project.
To make the municipality fully organic, the LGU of RTR targets to raise the percentage of its farmers practising organic farming to 100 percent in the next 2-3 years. The LGU also intends to expand its organic farm practices to other crops such as banana and vegetables. Considering that the LGU is already producing its own organic fertilizer, this thrust is indeed workable.
Mayor Soliva further hopes to radiate this LGU initiative to the rest of the municipalities of Agusan del Norte and throughout the Caraga Region. This unfolding in itself already makes RTR a winner and a success story worthy of emulation. (NEDA-13/PIA-Caraga) [top]