Tuesday, February 24, 2009
DA Goes Into Road Construction to Help Farmers
In line with government’s Economic Resiliency Plan or ERP, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said it would build 2,000 kilometers (km) of farm-to-market roads (FMRs) nationwide and create 53,000 jobs in the process.
Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said the construction of FMRs will start this week as part of a program designed to help Filipinos weather the global economic slowdown year through jobs and higher food production by 212,000 farmers in the country’s hunger-prone areas.
The FMR projects would amount to P5.3 billion and put in place within Key Production Areas and marginal lands or new sites to link these areas to higher class road systems and major markets or trading posts, Yap said.
Yap said that more than half of the total length of the FMRs would be in major food production sites in Central Philippines and the Mindanao Super Region.
About 567.6 km of FMRs to be built in Central Philippines are expected to benefit 56,760 farmers and create 14,190 new jobs, while 536.94 km of roads in Mindanao would have 53,694 direct farmer-beneficiaries and require 13,424 workers.
Yap said the North Luzon Agribusiness Quadrangle would also get 420.80 km of new FMRs that would benefit 42,080 farmers and generate 10,520 jobs while 366.8 km to be constructed in the Metro Luzon Urban Beltway, which include Central Luzon, would benefit 36,680 farmers and create 9,170 jobs.
Another 230.8 km of FMRs in other priority areas the DA has identified would create 5,770 jobs and benefit 23,080 farmers.
Farm-to-market roads would also be constructed in sites that link other “nonconvergence areas” to markets and trading posts. These sites are within the Strategic Agricultural and Fisheries Development Zones, Community-Based Forest Management Agreements, and Agrarian Reform Communities.
The construction would also take place in areas identified by the National Nutrition Council as “very vulnerable areas” in line with the hunger mitigating measures of the government or within peace-conflicted areas.
The plan, said Yap, is for the DA to speed up these intervention projects in the first semester of the year to create many jobs and stimulate economic activity in the countryside by the time the full brunt of the global financial crisis is felt in the Philippines.
He noted that faster bidding processes would help speed up the release of funds for the road projects, given that under the government auditing rules, no disbursements can be made unless the bidding process is complete and the winning bidders are named.
Yap said the DA would closely monitor the implementation of its high-impact projects to ensure the judicious disbursement of funds particularly to its program partners in the private sector.
To maximize the use of DA funds, Yap said the DA is also shifting its focus this year on hard or “big-ticket” projects for irrigation maintenance, postharvest facilities, FMRs and rural extension work, in lieu of “soft” projects like fertilizer support to farmers.
Instead of the fertilizer discount coupons that the DA gave out in 2008 to farmer-beneficiaries in partnership with local government units, the Department will provide organic fertilizer manufacturing support to farmers in 2,600 clusters or sites where the DA is channeling the bulk of its funds for intervention measures this year.
These clusters of neighboring farms cover 48 provinces in rain-fed areas where yields per hectare are below the national average of 3.8 tons of palay.
By Business Mirror
Click the links below to increase your harvest, and lower your input costs with higher quality organic fertilizers.
Click here to review Nutrplant AG Organic Fertilizer
Click here to review Nutriplant SD Organic Seed Germination Fertilizer
Click here to review Apsa80 Adjuvant to increase the efficacy of all your applied products