CALAPAN CITY, Oriental Mindoro – The Department of Agriculture will allot a total of P62-billion over the next two years for the purchase of farm implements, fertilizers and other agricultural equipment in its bid to increase food production in the country.
Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said the fund will be used, among others, to buy quality rice seeds that could give Filipino farmers a harvest of about 15 tons per hectare, up from the current average of 14.4 tons per hectare.
Piñol estimates a 1.8 million metric ton shortage in the overall production of palay but under their plan, it is expected that a surplus of eight million metric tons will be achieved.
“We will make sure that all the projects of the national government will reach the real and intended beneficiaries especially the marginalized people in the countryside. We will stop corruption at its root sources,” said Piñol.
Piñol is confident that their estimation will be achieved as they intend to use the department’s budget on three vital components – irrigation, quality seeds which could either be hybrid or inbred, fertilizers, are given priority.
Piñol, under his “Tapatan: Gobyerno at Mamamayan” project, chose to visit Mindoro as his program’s first stop owing to the area’s potentials as a source of major agricultural products.
“You have vast tracks of lands suited for various crops but there is poor irrigation system and yet the water is just a few inches down,” said Piñol in front of farmers in Barangay Labonan, Bongabong, Or. Mindoro.
The former longtime North Cotabato governor said they will distribute water pumps directly to farmers complete with its ancillary equipment like hose and steel tube. (Jerry J. Alcayde)