COTABATO CITY—Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala has assured farmers in North Cotabato who have been suffering the brunt of the long dry spell that the government is addressing their needs to cushion the impact of drought, officials said Monday.
Amalia Jayag Datukan, DA-12 executive director, said Alcala made the assurance when he addressed the Farmers and Irrigators forum in Carmen, North Cotabato.
“The government has anticipated this drought and mitigating measures have been in place, pag kulang pa, kikilos ang pamahalaan at di kayo pababayaan [If the programs need augmentation, the government is willing to extend more help],” Alcala told more than 4,000 farmers and irrigators from the towns of Pikit, Carmen, Midsayap and Aleosan who are part of the Malitubog-Maridagao (Mal-Mar) Irrigation Project cluster.
Alcala urged everyone to support the endeavors of the administration which helped farmers in increasing their production and translated to bigger incomes.
Because of government intervention, farmers survived the dry spell by still harvesting crops.
“We heard from Dir. Datukan’s report to the people where farmer leaders reported that their average palay yield significantly increased from 2.27 metric tons per hectare to 4.87 MT/ha because of various government interventions such as irrigation systems, provision of farm equipment and a lot more,” he stressed.
As the main highlight of the forum, Datukan delivered her “Ulat sa Bayan” underscoring the biggest projects implemented by the agency where farmers have been benefiting the most.
Datukan reported that North Cotabato province ranked number 2 (national level) in the implementation of Sikat Saka program with a total accumulated loan of P163.4 million, next to Nueva Ecija.
She also shared that the budget earmarked for DA Region 12 from 2011 to 2016 was valued at P11.52 billion which is 4.3 times bigger compared to the budget of P2.6 billion which was allotted from 2005-2010 by the previous administration.
Datukan also revealed that North Cotabato is given P247 million for the construction of nine farm-to-market road sub-projects with a total stretch of 24.5 kilometers under the Philippine Rural Development Project.