Monday, December 15, 2014

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Long & Endless KIA Improvement
by Ambrosio R. Villorente

After spending almost one billion pesos (P1,000,000,000) for the upgrading of the Kalibo International Airport (KIA), the airport is until today topsy-turvy. Both the departure and arrival areas are congested, and hot. The comfort rooms are below standard.

According to Mr. Arturo Balderas, project manager of KIA-DOTC implementing the expansion works, the government has appropriated P946 million for the upgrading and expansion of KIA facilities.

Balderas reported that P32.50 million was allocated for site acquisition which is “substantially completed”. For apron expansion, P15 million was allocated for site acquisition. Some P300 million was also allocated for the extension of runway, construction of access road, apron expansion, and taxiway and completion and rehabilitation of terminal building, with only 51 percent completed of the project.

The P59 million apron expansion, asphalt overlay of runway project has been suspended. There is P26 million allocation for asphalt overlay of damaged portions of the runway. Again P125.14 million is budgeted for another batch of site expansion and taxiway.

Capitalizing on the Philippines’ hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, another P150 million is set aside for KIA expansion plus the P237.55 million.

Endless Projects Constructions
It seems and it appears that the agencies concerned in the improvement of KIA in Kalibo, Aklan are endlessly appropriating public funds for endless similar projects constructions.

P110 Million For Banga-Libacao Road
Libacao is twenty one and one half (21.5) kilometers away from Banga and 30 kilometers away from Kalibo, the capital town of Aklan. In view of the road conditions, it takes from one hour to one hour and one half to reach Libacao from Kalibo via a 4-wheel vehicle. While the distance seems short, travel time is longer. This is due to the road condition of the 21.5 kilometers Banga-Libacao road, of which 9.44 kilometers remain rough resulting to its slow economic progress.

Libacao is the biggest municipality among the 17 towns of Aklan in terms of Aklan’s total land area. Should the road condition improved, progress will hasten not only of Libacao but Aklan especially.

Considering its vast fertile land, favorable climate, and its industrious people, there will be economic progress. Production of fruits, flowers, abaca, livestock among others will be increased as the mode of transportation is made easier and transport cost is greatly reduced. One factor which impedes increased agricultural productivity is the transport costs of products from the farm to the road side and from the road side to the market.

Moreover, the consumers cannot appreciate the efforts spent by the farmers in the production of farm products. They often bargain for the bottom price possible. Our consumers do not realize the hardship of the farm producers in bringing the farm products to market.

A good example is the exploitation of consumers and traders of our palay farmers. With the use of early maturing palay seeds, it will take 100-115 days to harvest the palay after transplanting. Before transplanting, a farmer sows the rice seeds and prepares the field ready for transplanting rice seedling.

Since rice is a hydro-phonic plant, it needs water to produce grains. Studies proved that to produce 10 metric tons of palay per hectare per season is possible in normal times with the use of recommended farm technology like good seeds, control of weeds, pests and diseases and irrigation.  

But can you, Mr. Consumer sympathize with the farmer whose lower limb of his body is buried in the mud and his upper limb is either under the sun or rain during land preparation, transplanting and harvesting?

 To produce 10 metric tons of palay per hectare per season, a farmer must supply 15 million kilograms of water for land preparation until the rice crop reaches its ripening stage. This means supplying 1,500 kilograms of water to produce one kilogram of palay from one square meter riceland.

Moreover, palay crop is vulnerable to the damage cause by wind, flood and birds. And when his crop is damaged, a farmer cries alone, when he has a bumper crop, everybody smile.

Mr. Consumer, I have yet to meet a palay farmer who became rich. On the other hand, I saw several rice traders who became millionaires.

Mr. Consumers and rice traders, can you recognize the difficulties a palay farmer undergoes by buying his products at a higher but reasonable price? “Lets do it.” /MP

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