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PIA Press Release

Mindanao gets P2-B from extension of agri enhancement fund

by Prix D Banzon

Davao City (28 February) -- Mindanao gets P2 billion from the extended implementation of the Agriculture Competitive Enhancement Fund (ACEF) President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced on Wednesday in Davao City during the gathering of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, Mindanao chapter at the Grand Regal Hotel.

The President signed the extension for the implementation of the law with a total fund of P 6 billion.

"Mindanao will get 30 percent of the fund equivalent to P2 billion," she said.

She said under the super regions two are classified under agri business and these are Northern Luzon and Mindanao.

The ACEF extension, he said aims to help the farmers and agri producers become more productive and competitive for people to improve on their lives. This will also help increase production and high farm yields, an assurance for food security.

The President said agribusiness Mindanao contributes to the strong and growing economy and that the island is the biggest food producer.

She also instructed government line agencies namely the Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture to allocate 30 percent of their respective budgets to Mindanao.

President Arroyo on the other hand urged the local government units to use their increased Internal Revenue Allotment to fund projects that help develop the towns and implement projects especially for the poor.

She said of the ten poorest provinces in the country, seven are in Mindanao that is why more focus is given to the island.

The ACEF enacted in 1996 is a funding facility aimed at supporting those whose livelihood depends primarily on agriculture. It enables farmers and fisherfolk, cooperatives and agribusiness entrepreneurs to compete in an extremely competitive and increasingly globalized agriculture market.

Senator Edgardo Angara earlier in his sponsorship speech on the extension of the ACEF at the Senate stressed that the fund was not made fully available until 1999 and RA 8178 mandates that the Fund will have a life of nine years of which ACEF will expire at the end of 2008. He sought the extension of the ACEF's utilization period for another nine years or until 2015.

With the ACEF extension, the Department of Agriculture could implement seven more farm-friendly measures that aims to increase incomes for small farmers and fisherfolk, expand access to rural credit and protect the environment. (PIA) [top]

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