DA Sec. Alcala (center) poses with Aklan tri-media, and DA Aklan staff.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala urged officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) around the country and Aklanon stakeholders during the Farmer’s Forum on Nov. 23, 2011, held in Hernani’s Mix and Match Restaurant, Kalibo, Aklan, to strongly coordinate with local government officials to harmonize and hasten the implementation of agricultural and fishery infrastructure, livelihood projects, through a counter parting scheme including the construction and repair of irrigation system, farm-to-market roads, provision of production, technical, postharvest and marketing services and assistance to small farmers and fisherfolks.
On November 17, 2011, the Senate office through Senator Drilon defended the proposed 2012 budget of DA totalling to 61.73 billion. The 2012 DA budget which is 60 percent more than this year’s allocation of P38.5 B. will fund major interventions in irrigation, farm mechanization and postharvest facilities, production support, research, development, and extension – geared to further increase rice, corn, other food crops production, basic commodities, and to improve the income of farmers and fisher folks.
According to Sec. Alcala, the budget will also lay the groundwork towards attaining self-sufficiency in rice and major staples by end of 2013. He stressed that about P300 million more than the current P900-M budget will be spent to promote organic farming practices and technologies, and increase production and consumption of organic, fishery, and livestock products. Alcala is one of the main authors of RA 10068 during his second term as congressman of the 2nd District of Quezon. As provided under the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 (RA 10068), at least two percent of the annual budget of the DA must be spent to implement national organic agriculture program which means the DA will spend at least P1.2 billion starting 2012.
Sec. Alcala encourages the farmers to take pride for being a farmer, be hard working so they can put more food on his table, and make a happy family. Likewise, he requests schools and colleges in Aklan to motivate students to study agricultural course, the only course that will make the Philippines richer agricultural country. Filipinos need not leave the country to work abroad as we have enough jobs to keep our people occupied.
He appreciated how Aklanons received him and his team warmly with genuine smiles. /MP