LINGAYEN, PANGASINAN—Commitment to farmers has been the battlecry of Governor Ramon V. Guico’s administration in its aim to transform the agriculture sector as partners towards Pangasinan’s food security.
In more than a year of his administration, Gov. Guico along with local leaders planned and strategize various initiatives to enhance agriculture sector competitiveness thru medium and long-term projects/programs.
Corporate farming program, a flagship program of the Guico administration, was introduced in the latter part of 2022, primarily to enhance Pangasinan’s food production and transform farming into a profitable economic enterprise.
Under the corporate farming program are major projects to include rice production, corn production and high value crops production.
Utilizing the “convergence approach or strategy,” program partners which include private entities, were tapped to collectively address the gaps in the food value chain thru farm consolidation leading to corporate farming.
As this developed, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was executed between the Pangasinan provincial government and the Rice-to-Rise Program of TAO Foods Company, Inc., to venture in “contract growing” with farmers associations; financing institutions’ resources to provide financing needs; and agricultural supplies entities’ network to supply farm inputs at minimal costs.
Initial inputs were provided to farmer cooperatives such as organic and inorganic fertilizers and pesticides and agro chemicals. To date, there are 163 hectares established with some 173 farmer-cooperatives.
Furthermore, the provincial government thru the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAg) led by Ms. Dalisay Moya, regularly provides technical assistance and technology transfer skills training and livelihood assistance for farmers and fishermen.
Skills training on crops and fishery production, food processing, packaging and technologies, institutional and entrepreneurial are held to equip farmers with modern and appropriate technology and enhance their management and marketing skills preparing them to become agri-preneurs.
To increase production yield and income of farmers, the Provincial Government of Pangasinan distributed significant amount of high quality palay and corn seeds as well as other production inputs such as fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides.
Farm mechanization was boosted thru the support of national agencies notably the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). It can be recalled that in June this year, agricultural equipment worth P42.4 million were distributed to 13,609 farmer-members from 109 agrarian reform beneficiary organizations in the province.
For its part, the provincial government distributed 83 hand tractors and 10 units of axial flow pump to various farmers and fishermen associations and vegetable growers. The National Irrigation Administration (NIA), on the other hand, supplied pump and engine sets to 70 associations.
In its support to the fishery sector, the present administration through the agriculture office, awarded a total of 160 gill nets and 40 fish coolers to various associations and some 93 units of fiber reinforced plastic boats. This benefited fishermen from 10 coastal municipalities in the province.
The province’s three provincial hatcheries also distributed a total of 816,800 pieces of tilapia and hito fingerlings which were dispersed in various communal bodies of water. Said project is aimed to increase fish population density, increase catch and income of fishermen.
The provincial government also continuously collaborate with the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) in preparation for the sun-project’s inclusion under Scale-up funding.
The sub-project was proposed to help address inadequate supply of milkfish (bangus) fry in the country. Costing a hefty amount of P241.5M, the bangus breeding and hatchery project will be constructed in Barangay Arnedo, Bolinao town.
“As the Bangus Capital of the country, we will soon produce 100,000,000 bangus fry every year through our Pangasinan Bangus Breeding and Hatchery Project in Bolinao,”Gov. Guico stated in his first State of the Province Address (SOPA) last March 2022.
Dubbed as the country’s top producer of bangus, Pangasinan contributes more than 28% in the country’s total production (PSA, 2019). (Ruby R. Bernardino with report from Analyn T. Cervantes/Pangasinan PIO)