ARMM to assist 65,000 farmers
Cotabato City (January 15, 2016) – The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DAF-ARMM) will provide assistance to 64,271 farmers and 866 agriculture groups during the first quarter of 2016 under its Agri-Pinoy Program, the region’s Agriculture chief said on Thursday, January 14.
Alexander Alonto, DAF-ARMM Secretary, said the department has already lined up its programs and projects for the entire year to empower farmers and farming communities in the region.
“We assure all the farmers na kung ano man ang naka-lineup for 2016, we will try our best na ma-implement namin sa lahat para makatulong sa kanila (We assure all the farmers that the lined-up programs for 2016 will be implemented to support them),” Sec. Alonto said.
Agrikulturang Pilipino, or Agri-Pinoy, is the over-all strategic framework of the Department of Agriculture that guides the various agricultural services and programs of the government from 2011-2016 and beyond.
It incorporates principles and practices that optimize the development of Philippine resources, natural and human, to achieve Philippine goals in agriculture and fisheries that would contribute significantly to national development. The Agri-Pinoy Program of the DAF-ARMM has a total budget of P451.2 million this year. In 2015, it has an allocation of P417.4 million.
Under Agri-Pinoy’s Rice Program alone, a total of 48,971 farmers and 255 agricultural groups would receive hybrid and certified palay seeds, as well as agricultural equipment specifically 170 units of hand tractor, floating tiller, transplanter and multi-purpose dying pavement– among others.
Agricultural interventions will also be provided under the Agri-Pinoy Corn Program. Among the equipment to be distributed under the corn program are 10 mechanical shellers.
Records from Philippine Statistics Authority showed the total value of agricultural production in the country, at constant prices, reached P568.7 billion covering the period January to September 2015.
ARMM is primarily agricultural, as reflected in the region’s Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP), said Iskak Paguital, DAF-ARMM’s chief of staff. The largest portion of GRDP comes from agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing – accounting for 61.3% of the total in 2013, and 58.8% in 2014.
Paguital said production of priority commodities and high-value crops in the region must be increased since ARMM has an agriculture-dependent economy. Six hundred six agricultural associations and cooperatives are scheduled to receive interventions under the High-Value Crops Development Program this year.
Sec. Alonto added that the region is targeting to harvest a total of 659,970 metric tons of agricultural products during the year, while 230,759 hectares of land would be planted with crops this year. ARMM, with five component provinces, has 533,410 hectares total agricultural land – 145,477 hectares of which are rice areas. (Bureau of Public Information)