DA Secretary William Dar committing support to Palawan agri-fishery sector during a recent visit

The agriculture and fishery scene in Palawan is expected to transform and level up with a total P1.2-billion budget allocation for various programs and projects intended to improve production and increase the income of local farmers this year.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar made the announcement during his visit in Puerto Princesa City on January 29, where he distributed a total of P105-million worth of farm machinery under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).

The mechanization support is on top of other assistance and interventions distributed to farmers and fishers of Puerto Princesa and nearby municipalities.

“Under this component of RCEF, we are distributing more than P180M worth of machinery and farm equipment to the province,” the agri chief said.

The Secretary added that mechanizing the agri sector will improve productivity and increase farmers profit.

A total of 337 units of different farm machinery were awarded to 75 rice farmer cooperatives and associations in the 17 municipalities of Palawan.

Aside from the mechanized assistance, DA through its MIMAROPA regional office, awarded cash and food subsidy assistance, indemnity checks, and fertilizer e-vouchers to hundreds of farm-beneficiaries.

Financial assistance under the Kapital Access for Young Agripreneurs (KAYA) loan were also awarded to two young farmers — Ernest Bajaro and Reizan Rodriguez, of Puerto Princesa and Aborlan, respectively.

In addition, the regional Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources awarded 10 units of fiberglass reinforced plastic boats and 80 sets of bottom gill nets. Total interventions awarded amount to P287.2 million.

“We will continue to support all farmers and fishers, as agriculture remains to be a major economic contributor of the country. Amidst the challenges of last year’s perfect storm, production did not go down,” Dar explained.

Dar added that rice production even posted topped its 2017 record level of 19.2 million metric tons (MMT) with last year’s yield of 19.4 MMT.

“With all your help, and the continuous and strengthened partnership of the national and local governments, I’m positive that we can hit our 2.5 percent increase this year,” Dar said.