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PIA Press Release

Agri dep't holds infocar, forum to counter food shortage

Siquijor (9 July) -- With the large extent of "rice shortage" taking place in the country, the government and various stakeholders play a vital role in addressing this phenomenon.

In Siquijor province, the Department of Agriculture spearheaded the 2008 Information Caravan and Consultative Forum on Agriculture at the Lazi Social Center on June 27, 2008.

The goal of the activity was to explain the factors affecting the current food situation and the initiatives undertaken by partner/lined agencies and to gain feedbacks, insights, commitment of support and collaboration from the stakeholders.

Participating in the caracan were the Provincial Government of Siquijor headed by Governor Orlando "Shane" A. Fua, Jr., the Local Government Units, DA-Regional Field Unit-7, Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, Office of the Congressman of Siquijor, National Food Authority, National Irrigation Administration, Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, Land Bank of the Philippines, Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, Office of the Provincial Veterinarian, PAFC-Siquijor, QUEDANCOR, RAFC, ATI-RTC 7, province-based People's organization and NGOs.

The barangay captains of the 134 barangays of the province of Siquijor, farmers organizations and other agriculture's stakeholders also attended the activity.

During the information caravan the respective regional coordinators discussed on the status and the present move of their respective sections.

The FIELDS and GMA Program was discussed by mr. Jorge Paculba, Regional Coordinator of GMA Rice; Corn program by Dr. Fabio Enriquez, Regional Coordinator of GMA Corn, High Value Commercial Crop Program by Ms. Nenita Seno, Regional Coordinator for GMA HVCC; Livestock Program by Mr. Joel Elumba, Regional Coordinator for GMA Livestock; and Irrigation and Post-harvest by Engr. Cirilo Namoc, Chief, RAED, DA-RFU 7.

The forum also saw discussions in the provincial level, wherein Dr. Ramon A. Taroc, Provincial Agriculturist presented the provinces' agricultural status and the initiatives undertaken; Dr. Bernardita Tabada, Provincial Veterinarian on her livestock initiatives; and Mr. Francisco Lorico, Jr., NFA Manager on his rice and corn supply situationer's report.

At present the National Irrigation Association is initiating more irrigation projects in the province, two of which are the Capalasanan Irrigation Project in Lazi with 60 service areas and the Helen Canal Improvement in Larena with 20 service areas.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation stressed the need for all agriculture stakeholders to insure their animals and crops to be assured of recovering losses in case of any calamitous and fortuitous events.

For its part, the Land Bank of the Philippines offered to provide finances to support farmers' needs since the government is allocating funds for any loan programs.

Dr. Eduardo Alama, Regional Technical Director for Research & Development said that the focus of the information caravan is to inform the people and popularize the programs and projects of the government.

He said that there are programs being implemented that most farmers failed to avail because of the lack of information.

Alama said that trainings and seminars on the new and modern methods of farming is another factor to improve farm yields and that if the farmers will do their part through participating in any government's programs, countryside development will surely take place.

On the other hand, Congressman Orlando B. Fua said that the government is helping the Siquijor farmers till their land and teaching them the necessary steps to improve their farm.

Cong. Fua also cited the importance of a modern solar pump whose power is taken from the sun's energy and can pump water as deep as 60 ft-200 ft.

He also mentioned the government's fertilizer discount program which can be of great help to the farmers, thus urging them to grab this opportunity given by President Gloria Arroyo.

The Philippines, stung by a global rice shortage, has embarked on a program to make the country self-sufficient of the grains, he said.

Siquijor Provincial Governor Orlando "Shane" A. Fua Jr. said that politicking in the height of food crisis is downright absurd.

He said that the high prices are a common enemy that everyone faces and that 'everyone needs to unite to beat the enemy".

Citing food as the great equalizer of men to survive, he urged everyone to make use of the government's livelihood programs.

He assured Siquijodnons to provide assistance to farmers so that we can obtain our common goal, which is development. (RA) [top]

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