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PIA Press Release
2009/10/31

Aggie inputs sector offers to help in Benguet's rehabilitation of vegetable industry

La Trinidad, Benguet (31 October) -- Governor Nestor Fongwan of Benguet Province has welcomed the offer made by CropLife Philippines and IFARM to help in the rehabilitation program for farmers and their farms in the province in the wake of the devastation wrought by killer typhoon Pepeng.

CropLife is the association of research-based crop protection companies in the country, while IFARM is CropLife's partner-NGO advocating science-based agriculture.

The offer was made by Executive Director Simeon Cuyson of CropLife Philippines and IFARM officers when they delivered and turned over t-shirts and canned goods donated by the member-companies of CropLife to support the provincial government's relief efforts. The turnover was conducted in the provincial capitol in La Trinidad last October 28, 2009.

The Office of Provincial Agriculturist Lolit Bentres placed the area damaged at 4,384 hectares involving 4,597 farmers as of October 20, 2009. Estimated crop loss is valued at more than P270 million, according to the same consolidated report.

Governor Fongwan informed CropLife and IFARM that their offer was timely since the provincial government is set to terminate relief efforts and move on to rehabilitation very soon. Fongwan added that Easy West Seeds and Allied, two private seed companies that operate in the province, have, in fact, donated a first batch of seeds to replenish planting materials that the farmers lost in the floods and devastation.

The proposed rehabilitation program, entitled "Agbangon!," is slated to begin in November once the consolidated reports are finalized and the necessary inputs and primary beneficiaries are identified by the provincial government and Provincial Agriculturist Bentres.

Planned to be part of "Agbangon!" will be psycho-social trauma mitigation clinics for the affected farmers, start-up planting materials, credit facilitation for farm inputs such as fertilizers and crop protection products and environmental stewardship and product stewardship programs based on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to hasten the farmers' getting back on their feet.

It will be recalled that even volunteer relief workers and rescuers have suffered trauma because of their harrowing experiences and what they saw at the height of relief efforts.

"Agbangon!" seeks to provide a model for the private and public sectors to come together and cooperate in the efforts at rehabilitation. The Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) as well as private seed companies will be tapped for start-up planting materials, the DENR for environmental stewardship expertise to avoid the same devastation recurring, and the farm inputs industries for support with necessary revival products and mechanisms. (PIA) [top]

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