DA & KOICA To Develop
Panay Upland Areas
Recognizing the high agricultural potentials of upland areas in the four provinces of Western Visayas, the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Office 6 and the Korean International Cooperation Agency ((KOICA) will implement the five-year Panay Island Upland Sustainable Rural Development Program (PIU-SRDP) beginning 2015.
This program will reduce poverty incidence; increase farmers’ income, technical skills and livelihood opportunities; provide market access; and promote ecological awareness.
Regarded as suitable areas for agro-forestry development and production of high value crops and upland commodities, Libacao, Aklan; Patnongon, Antique; Jamindan and Tapaz, Capiz; and Alimodian, Iloilo are chosen as the pilot areas for the implementation of PIU-SRDP.
Upland areas, with up to 2,000 meters altitude, 18 percent slope and 1,000 to 2,500 mm annual rainfall, should be of public domain and cannot be declared as alienable and disposable.
“Foreign assistance is very important in the implementation of agricultural projects,” said DA Regional Executive Director Larry P. Nacionales during the stakeholders’ orientation of PIU-SRDP held at Hotel Del Rio, Molo, Iloilo City, September 11.
Emphasizing rural development, Dir. Nacionales urged the collaborating agencies and the local government units (LGUs) to prioritize the needs of the farmers in the upland communities by providing them with appropriate and sustainable projects.
This Korean government-assisted program will provide production technology support, capacity building, educational and livelihood skills such as the conduct of Farmers Field School, alternative financial support and guarantee mechanisms, building of agri-infrastructures, and support to institutional and organizational development.
The PIU-SRDP, with the budget allocation of US $7M from the Korean Government and US $2.3M from DA and LGUs, is in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippine Coconut Authority, Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority, Department of Agrarian Reform, National Commission on Indigenous People, Civil Society and People’s Organizations.
“In addition to the Rice Processing Complex in Pototan, Iloilo, this PIU-SRDP is another big project from the South Korean Government through the Official Development Assistance,” said DA Regional Technical Director Manuel O. Olanday. /MP