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DA rolls out P25.9-M projects to N. Cotabato farmers

North Cotabato’s rice producing town has received another boost to its farming activities with a PHP25.9 million agricultural intervention from Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.

Farmers and fisher folks are direct beneficiaries of the program who are expected to contribute to the country’s food supply needs.

Piñol, together with top DA officials, on Saturday turned over the agricultural intervention projects to the local government unit of Midsayap, farmers’ associations, and fishing communities in the town as part of the agriculture chief’s “Biyaheng Bukid.”

The project is under the agency’s Rice Program, Piñol turned over two rice combine harvesters and two mini four-wheel drive tractors.

On top of the hardware, the agriculture secretary also distributed to about 50 farmers groups assorted farm machines worth PHP8.9-M from the “Bottom-Up Budgeting” (BUB) program to boost rice production.

Piñol who was familiar with Midsayap’s rice production while he was governor and vice governor of North Cotabato, said capacitating farmers will help build peaceful communities.

Two farmers’ associations and four villages were given 27 units of pre and post-harvest facilities from the PAyapa at MAsaganang pamayaNAn (PAMANA) program.

Under the DA’s Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program, about 200 bags of corn seeds and another 200 bags of fertilizer were given to the farmer-recipients.

With Midsayap having wetlands, fishing communities are also getting government intervention. Piñol turned over 34 units of motorized bancas and 80,000 tilapia fingerlings from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Farmers urged to patronize new technology

Piñol urged farmers to use new farming technologies introduced by his office to increase productivity and profits.

“We have to embrace new technologies. We must be open-minded and get out of the box,” he told farmer and fisher folks.

He cited as example Samar farmers who still use the ancient farming methods.

“During land preparation, farmers in Samar only used five carabaos to till the area, and then plant the seeds, then they will only return during harvest time… these farming practices result to low yield with an average of one to two metric ton per hectare,” he told beneficiaries.

He also urged farmers to choose hybrid seeds for it provides them better harvest.

Piñol said the utilization of hybrid seeds in rice production could elevate farmers’ harvest. The country’s current national average yield per hectare is 4.15 metric tons.

Edwin O. Fernandez/PNA