Agri stakeholders cite gains in FIELDS program

June 18, 2010 8:23 pm 

MANILA, June 18 — Various stakeholders of the agriculture sector today expressed their gratitude to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for the vigorous implementation of the FIELDS program, saying it has significantly increased agricultural production and raised their income.

FIELDS stands for the six areas of agriculture which the President has focused on to ensure national food sufficiency – Fertilizer, Irrigation and other rural infrastructure, Extension and education services for farmers, Loans, Dryers and other post-harvest facilities, and Seeds.

In the Retrospective Forum attended by President Arroyo with Agriculture Secretary Bernie Fondevilla, farmer Ronelio Barsatan of the CBCP-NASSA-National Farm Center in General Natividad, Nueva Ecija said the creation of national and diocesan farm centers across the country promoted organic farming that cut down the cost of fertilizer.

The Agriculture department provided 1,380 technology packages on community-based composting facilities which resulted in a net income of P5,761 for Compost Tea (Foliar Fertilizer), P154,448 for Trichoderma-based compost and P229,349 for vermi-compost per 100-hectare cluster model.

It also granted 68 Bio-N mixing plants to farmers, farmer cooperatives, private sector, and LGUs. Five packets of Bio-N, an organic fertilizer, per hectare proved to be a good replacement for two bags of Urea, giving the farmers big savings of P2,100 per hectare.

On irrigation and infrastructure component, about P79.7 billion has been released for the restoration of national and communal irrigation systems nationwide, generating 140,042 hectares of new areas. A total of 1,480,826 hectares located in the four super regions were also restored and rehabilitated.

The government also constructed since 2001 a total of 18,929 kilometers of farm-to-market roads worth P26.77 billion, and established 50 mariculture parks covering a total of 49,073 hectares.

These improvements resulted in an increased rice yield averaging 3.53 metric tons per hectare for the period 2001-2009, as compared to an average of 2.86 metric tons per hectare in 1990-2000.

On extension and education, DA provided a total of 22, 941 various agricultural technology trainings and orientations that benefited some 977,713 farmers, agricultural extension workers (AEWs), and farmer entrepreneurs.

Efraim Acacio of Sta. Ana Cagayan said the free technical assistance provided by the government – from selecting the right seeds to harvesting palay – had helped him in increasing his income.

“I am proud to say that our dream will soon be fulfilled. We will soon complete the construction of a small concrete house for our family beside our farms,” he said.

For the dryers and other postharvest facilities component, the DA distributed 2,016 units of flat bed dryers in various provinces. Through the mechanical drying system, an estimated 25,724 MT of palay valued at P437 million was saved in 2008.

DA also constructed 13 tramlines – 7 in Benguet, 3 in Mt. Province, 2 in Nueva Ecija, and 1 in Dalaguet, Cebu – to transport commodities from highlands to the market.

On seeds, DA provided some 1.68 million bags of hybrid and 12.5 million bags of certified palay seeds. It also developed and distributed climate-ready seeds which are drought and submergence – tolerant to help farmers cope with the adverse effects of climate change.

After the forum, the President led the formal launching of DA’s coffee table book chronicling the major achievements of her administration in its centerpiece agenda of food security and sufficiency.

Titled “Fields of Glory,” the book illustrates how President Arroyo has delivered on her commitments to the agricultural and fisheries sector by way of her flagship project FIELDS, according to Fondevilla. (PNA) LOR/OPS/rsm

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