Gov taps DA funds to help farmers in disaster-affected areas

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Gov. Dayanghirang interacts with Sec. Manny Piñol during a meeting cum forum with leaders in Davao Region held on January 26, 2017 at the Provincial Capitol of Compostela Valley Province in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley.

The Province of Davao Oriental is set to receive aid from the Department of Agriculture in support to its recovery program in areas affected by heavy floods and landslides brought about by the tail-end of a cold front.

DA Secretary Manny Piñol, during a meeting cum forum with the leaders of the provinces in Davao Region held today, January 26, 2017, at the Provincial Capitol of Compostela Valley Province, has vowed to provide aid to the provinces badly affected by the calamity, particularly in terms of the rehabilitation of the agriculture sector.

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Secretary Piñol with government officials of Davao Region during a meeting held at the Provincial Capitol of Compostela Valley Province. Beside Secretary Piñol is the meeting’s host, ComVal Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy. Seated at the far left is Davao Oriental Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang.

“I know that this is a painful time for you. But don’t worry we are here to help. We will give it and we will give it fast,” he said, stressing the national government’s commitment to extend quick assistance to the affected residents.

A proposed rehabilitation plan prepared by the DA Regional Office for the provinces in Davao Region was presented to the Secretary during the meeting. Based on the plan, a total of P69.2 million budget is initially set for the whole region. In the ensuing days, the department will be sending in teams to the provinces to further assess the damages and validate the required funding support.

According to Provincial Agriculture Office Head Rotchie Ravelo, the Province of Davao Oriental has initially requested P10 million from the department to help farmers in their recovery efforts.

Provincial Agriculture Office Head Rotchie Ravelo

Provincial Agriculture Office Head Rotchie Ravelo

He said the partially assessed damage to the province’s agriculture sector, as of January 25, is estimated to be at around P21.8 million, with rice crop incurring the major damage pegged at P 3.3 million.  He said there is also huge loss in other crops such as are corn, banana, cacao, vegetables, coconut, and abaca. Meanwhile, the projected cost of damage to livestock is P1.2 million.

While the interventions that will be provided by the DA are mostly planting materials and farm inputs such as seedlings, fingerlings, fertilizers, and farming implements, among others, Secretary Piñol stressed the need to make long-term interventions for the agriculture sector that will result to a more sustainable recovery and development. He said that heavy rains and flooding can occur at any given time brought about by the effects of climate change.

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“We need to look at the problem from a longer and wider perspective. We should not look at all this flooding in the context of a disaster. This should be perceived and reviewed in the context of a problem that will come back again and again if we don’t come up with long-lasting interventions,” he said, citing long-standing plans such as the Agusan River Basin Development Plan that if pushed through would benefit the provinces in the region and will mitigate the threats of future disasters such as flooding that is mainly caused by the overflowing of the River.

Meanwhile, the Province of Davao Oriental has proposed several long-term projects in support to agriculture. Among these are projects in Barangay Taocanga in Manay town, which include a 22-kilometers farm-to-market road touted to benefit five upland barangays whose residents are mostly abaca farmers. Another is an irrigation system touted to expand upland rice plantation in Taocanga from 50 hectares to 200 hectares.

Secretary Piñol said that he will be sending in the department’s engineering team to assess the feasibility of the said projects.

Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang, who attended the said forum along with other local leaders in Davao Region, thanked Secretary Piñol not only for heeding to the distress call of the calamity-stricken areas but also in opening new opportunities for the farmers through strategic long-term plans and projects. By Karen Lou Deloso

 

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