Aiming to keep the farmers and fisherfolk aware of government support to the sector, the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Office (RFO) 6 conducted an Agricultural Information Caravan and Technology Forum in the island-municipality of Caluya which is located in the northernmost tip of Antique, June 8.
“This is the first time that we conduct an agricultural information caravan in Caluya. DA seeks to help farmers and fisherfolk in increasing their production and income,” Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer for Antique Dominador Marquez also noted that the department is preparing farmers and fisherfolk become competitive for the free trade liberalization.
James Earl E. Ogatis, public relations officer of DA RFO 6, said that the department has been conducting agricultural information caravan since the early 1990s and it aims to bring information on agri technologies closer to the stakeholders to improve farm production, marketing, utilization of postharvest facilities and mechanization. He also cited that agri projects and services are given to registered and active farmers and fisherfolk associations.
Around 150 farmers and fisherfolk from the 18 barangays of Caluya were briefed about the various agri-fishery projects of DA and its attached agencies that they can access through the support of their local government unit.
Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) Regional Manager CharlitoBrilleta said that farmers of Caluya can avail of different insurance services covering palay, corn, high value commercial crops, livestock and farm implements, and accident insurance under the Agricultural Producer Protection Plan.
Since 2013, the DA gives free insurance to farmers and fisherfolk listed in the Registry System of Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA). With no premium to pay, every RSBA-listed farmer can get an insurance covering a maximum three hectares (ha) area of palay, corn or high value crops. Meanwhile, each livestock raiser can also insure up to three heads of swine, carabao, cattle or goat and can obtain an indemnity claim of P15,000 to P20,000 for every mortality. Also, fisherfolk can receive P6,000 payments for their damaged pump boat without engine and P50,000 for pumpboats with marine engine.
Given that the island is the second largest seaweed producing town in the country, Municipal mayor Genevive L. Reyes said that fisherfolk must be given assistance to keep their production sustainable and producers protected in times of natural disasters. The island has produced1,889.12 metric tons (MT) in 2014 and 2,583 MT in 2015. “We have also tallied 576 MT seaweeds production in the first quarter of this year,” she added.
She also promised to subsidize the premium fees for PCIC’s insurance program of farmers and fisherfolk who are not included in the RSBSA.
Brilleta responded that PCIC will craft a proposal for the insurance program of seaweeds planters in Caluya. To protect the seaweed producers during typhoons, each planter can insure up to 500 square meters seaweed farm.
“PCIC, as a government controlled corporation under DA, is tasked to give protection to farmers and fisherfolk in times of natural disasters. As of now, we have already given P70 million indemnity claims to farmers of Iloilo who were affected by El Niño,” Brilleta urged Caluya farmers and fisherfolk to coordinate with their Municipal Agriculturist Shirley T. Jiancillan in their application for insurance.
Furthermore, AileenNecor of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) VI enumerated several projects which can be accessed by the fisherfolk and fish vendors of the island. These include the establishment of community fish landing centers, BoatR and FishR programs, joint mobile registration and licensing, and protection of marine areas against illegal fishing as mandated in the Republic Act 10654.
Necor also added that BFAR will turnover patrol boat units this June to the local government unit of Caluya to strengthen the town’s drive versus illegal fishing activities.
Banner program representatives from DA RFO VI and Office of the Provincial Agriculturist- Antique also equipped the farmer and fisherfolk-participants about the agricultural projects and services from DA such as technology trainings, production input subsidies, establishment of irrigation facilities, marketing, and use of farm machineries and postharvest facilities which they can avail.
Farmers were also urged to adopt Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) which aims to support food safety, production of quality products, environmental sustainability and workers’ health safety and welfare.
To ascertain the needs of the locality, farmers and fisherfolk were asked to raise questions and their concerns. Majority of them signified their need to access DA’s insurance services, conduct of production trainings, and establishment of small irrigation facilities—for the lack of adequate water supply is their main problem in crop production.
DA RFO VI distributed assorted vegetable seeds, OPV corn seeds, cashew and guyabano planting materials, certified palay seeds, and production guides and manuals of various agricultural crops, livestock and poultry to the farmer-participants. #(SMHToreno)