DA allocates P909.68M for agri-fishery projects in Iloilo

By Mariela Angella Oladive

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has earmarked P909.68 million for agricultural and fishery projects in Iloilo, aiming to enhance the livelihoods of local farmers, fisherfolk, and organized groups.

Under the leadership of DA Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel Jr., the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) program has granted P5,000.00 each to 392 Ilonggo farmers. This assistance is drawn from the surplus tariff revenues generated by rice importations in 2021 and 2022.

In addition to this, the DA has provided fuel aid totaling P387,450 to 123 Iloilo farmers and is set to expand this benefit to 17,870 farmers across Region 6, with each receiving P3,150. Notably, 7,680 of these beneficiaries are from Iloilo.

The KADIWA Financial Grants, which amount to P8.5 million, aim to enhance market linkages and support value-added activities for one state university and four farmers’ groups in Iloilo.

Collaborating with the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), the DA has delivered P11.246 million in equipment such as transplanters, rice combine harvesters, and single-pass rice mills as part of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) initiative.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has contributed P2 million in support, supplying crucial resources including fishing gear, marine engines, and tilapia fingerlings, to propel the fishery sector in the region.

The DA has also played a pivotal role in advancing infrastructure development under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), with the issuance of No Objection Letters (NOL) for projects valued at P885.52 million to the appropriate local government units.

Secretary Laurel, who chaired the National Irrigation Administration Board Meeting, highlighted the progress of the P19.7-billion multipurpose Jalaur River project, which as of January 2024, is 74% complete.

“This is the first large-scale water reservoir to be constructed in the Visayas and Mindanao, and it is crucial for maximizing the rice production potential of Western Visayas. I am confident in this region’s capacity to significantly contribute to our country’s rice self-sufficiency,” he affirmed. (DA-RAFID photo)