Legarda: Stronger Support for Farmers Needed to Achieve Sustainable Agricultural Productivity

August 20, 2020

Deputy Speaker and Antique Lone District Representative Loren Legarda stressed the need for strengthened support for Antique farmers to increase their agricultural productivity and promote food sufficiency of the province.

“Our farmers bring food to our table, yet they belong to one of the poorest sectors in the society. We have to enhance rural livelihoods by promoting programs and providing better livelihood opportunities to our farmers to ensure agricultural productivity and food sufficiency in Antique,” Legarda said.

Legarda believes that the productivity of the province can be expected if she continues to provide new opportunities to the farmers through income-generating programs such as livestock farming. Legarda supported the allocation under the National Dairy Authority (NDA) for the Antique Dairy Development Program for the purchase of breeding stock.

As of June 2020, the NDA has distributed 72 dairy heifers to 32 dairy farmers. These have produced 58 calves and 389,822 liters of milk since the start of the program in January 2018. Meanwhile, another 150 heads of pregnant cattle will be delivered from Mindanao for distribution to the Northern Antique Cluster after the reopening of Negros Oriental – Negros Occidental border. According to NDA, the delivery of these animals will be on staggered basis depending on readiness of the area/farmer recipients.

“The Antique Dairy Development Program aims to boost our province’s local milk production, build the capacities of farmers for profitable dairy farming, and support the set-up of milk and dairy enterprises. One great benefit of the program is its potential for providing support to the province’s feeding program for children,” Legarda said

Legarda also supported the allocation in the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA) for the Carabao-Based Improvement Network lodged under the Philippine Carabao Center Acceleration of Livelihood and Assets Build-up (PCC ALAB). The program includes provisions for carabaos, milk processing and dairy store, milk consolidating and milk processing equipment, 1 unit vehicle and 2 units of motorcycle, laboratory/store/packaging equipment and trainings/seminar for farmers.

Under the program, a total of 160 dairy carabaos have been distributed to recipient cooperatives in Antique. Pandan Multipurpose Cooperative received 30 dairy carabaos and Hamtic Multipurpose Cooperative received 130 dairy carabaos, which they dispersed to the municipalities of Belison, Sibalom, San Jose and Hamtic. On the other hand, 1 unit vehicle and 2 motorcycles are already in the PCC central office being prepared for distribution, the milk consolidation and milk processing equipment are already for delivery to Pandan and Hamtic Multipurpose Cooperatives, while the milk processing and dairy outlet, which will be put up in New Hamtic Public Terminal and Market is undergoing bidding process.

Through Legarda’s initiative, funds under the Department of Agriculture (DA) were also allocated for the construction of slaughterhouses in San Jose, Sibalom, Culasi and Pandan and the bidding for this is also ongoing.

Aside from dairy and livestock, Legarda also supported the allocation for rice, corn and high value crops development programs for the province. Among these are the Rice and Corn Programs for the purchase of machineries and equipment. Said programs will be implemented by the DA Region VI Office through the Provincial Government of Antique.

Moreover, other projects lined up for this year are the High Value Crop Development Program in the municipality of San Remigio, the Coffee Program for the improvement of the coffee processing center with tank and stainless table for the Bulalacao Calooy-Tulala Farmers Association, and the Peanut Program for the improvement of peanut storage in Buluangan 1 Multi-Purpose Cooperative in the municipality of Valderrama.

Legarda also supported the allocation under DA for the construction of various farm-to-market roads in Antique to provide better rural-urban connectivity, reduce travel time in transporting of agricultural goods and farm equipment, and encourage development of local markets and agricultural business in the province.

“All these projects will be a big boost for the agriculture sector as we have unburdened our small farmers, who are among the poorest of the poor. Providing our farmers with the assistance that they need would also give them the chance to contribute the yields from their lands and hard work to the economic progress of the province. I hope that with all the support that they are receiving now, more Antiqueños will be encouraged to engage in or go back to farming and improve the income of Antique through rural livelihoods,” Legarda concluded.#