AGRICULTURE SECRETARY MANNY PACQUIAO (left) shows off his Indian malunggay (moringa) in his North Cotabato farm. At right, he dialogues with farmers in Munoz, Nueva Ecija.
DINGLE, Iloilo – “We are starting a revolution that aims to liberate farmers from the control of traders and middlemen,” said Agriculture Secretary Manny F. Piñol during the Farmers and Cooperative Day in Dingle, Iloilo, Oct. 29.
Addressing more than 900 farmers, Piñol assured them that the Department of Agriculture (DA) is devising programs that will capacitate farmers from plowing and planting to harvesting, drying, milling, and marketing.
“Farmers should gain fairly for his labor and sacrifices,” he added.
The DA chief committed a total of P100 million funding support to advance the agriculture sector of the town where his late grandfather Jose Piñol was born.
Piñol will provide P40 million loan fund to rice farmers of Dingle by the next wet planting season. Qualified farmers will obtain credit of P15,000 per hectare upon the conduct of orientation by the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) and issuance of Juan Magsasaka Card.
According to Municipal Agriculturist Marfe Quinlat, Dingle has an average production of P4.19 metric tons (MT) per hectare across ecosystem. Piñol urged farmers to increase their yield up to 10MT per hectare by using high preforming hybrid rice varieties.
“With this Production Loan Easy Access program, you can buy quality (hybrid) seeds and fertilizers. This is a non-collateral credit program with only six percent interest rate per year,” explained Piñol.
He also identified the Dingle Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and the Dingle Government Workers Development Cooperative as the lending conduits for the program implementation.
Meanwhile, he also promised P60 million Equipment Loan to Dingle with only two percent interest per annum. The said amount will be used by the Federation of Farmers Associations in Dingle to procure high quality machinery and equipment.
To address farmers’ marketing problem, he proposed serveral projects to Dingle farmers.
“Through your Federation, we will put up a dryer that can dry up to 200MT every four hours, and one silo that can store 10,000-20,000MT of palay,” he cited.
The DA will also provide a starting capital to the Federation to buy the palay produced by its members. They will also be the one to dry, store and market the farmers’ produce. Piñol encouraged the farmers to choose only one or two rice varieties to plant in the whole town.
A total of P780,000.00 worth of rice planter walk behind type, floating tiller and cultivator were turned over today to farmers association and cooperatives in Dingle.
Piñol also turned over a check amounting to P1.8 million to Iloilo State College of Fisheries-Dingle Campus for the establishment of a goat and cattle multiplier farm.
The DA will soon construct a solar powered irrigation system at Brgy. Tabugon and a small water impounding project at Brgy. Libo-o.