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DA approves 11 farm-to-market roads in Calabarzon



The Regional Project Advisory Board (RPAB) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region IV-A has approved 11 farm-to-market road projects (FMR) during its First Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council (RAFC) Meeting held here last week.

Executive Director Arnel V. De Mesa for Region 1V-A (Calabarzon) said Monday that majority of the approved projects were proposed by Calabarzon provinces and by municipalities of Batangas.

Calabarzon comprises the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.

De Mesa, who served as RAFC co-chairperson and graced this year’s first regional conference at the Southern Tagalog Integrated Agricultural Research Center (STIARC) Training Hall here last March 27, said the FMRs would be located in the towns of San Juan, Rosario, Taysan for a combined road length of 34.967 kms, making Batangas the biggest cost and road length among the proposals, followed by Quezon and Laguna.

The RAFC meeting also presented to the participants the council’s term of reference (TOR), provincial counterparts like the Provincial Agricultural and Fishery Council (PAFC) and Highly Urbanized City Agricultural and Fishery Council (HUCAFC) updates; sectoral issues and concerns.

Aside from the FMR projects, De Mesa also shared the good performance of his office in terms of obligation and disbursement in the first quarter of the year, the accomplishment of reviving previous programs and projects with backlogs, upon instructions by DA Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” F. Piñol.

The meeting also tackled the conduct of a roadshow slated from April 24 to 25 on farm technologies which will showcase agricultural machineries and equipment from Korea.

Meanwhile, RAFC chairperson Pedrito R. Kalaw highlighted the need for improving knowledge and strengthening industries so the agriculture sector could achieve competitive advantage.

Kalaw also underscored the need for constant communication with local government units (LGUs) for them to fully perform their role in helping the DA Calabarzon in implementing its programs and projects for the farmers and fisherfolks in the region.

The two council officials also encouraged the body’s full support in joining the Regional “Gawad Saka” Search, whose date is still being finalized but might be scheduled in October this year.

The search will help their members get their due recognition for their notable accomplishments.

During the meeting, Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF), a loan grant program created by virtue of the “Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1995,” or Republic Act No. 8178, was emphasized as a safety net for farmers and fishermen affected by the trade liberalization policies of the government.

The fund allocates 80 percent for credit/loan assistance, 10 percent for the Research and Development (R&D) activities, and another 10 percent for the implementation of a Grant-in-Aid program.

An open forum was also conducted to clear issues and other concerns.

Line agencies’ representatives were also urged to support the council’s mandates and programs like National Irrigation Administration (NIA), National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF), and LGUs among others.

Gladys Pino / PNA