Wednesday, January 13, 2010

DA hands over agri projects to Pagadian


THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has raised Pagadian City’s agricultural prospects to a higher level with the turnover of new projects for the city’s agriculture and fishery development.

Timed during the official opening of the Pasalamat Festival 2010 last Jan. 8, DA regional executive director Oscar Parawan turned over the various projects to the city.

Local officials led by Mayor Samuel Co and Vice Mayor Romeo Pulmones and several councilors and barangay officials received the seven units of flatbed dryers worth P600,000 each.

Two flatbed dryers each are likewise installed in Tawagan Sur and Lison Valley while Lower Sibatang, Tulawas and Tiguma has one each.

Other projects given included a community-based composting facility worth P350,000, a shredder machine, two tea brewers, three vermi beds and 15 kilos of worms for the production of organic compost waste.

Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) National Director Asterio Saliot handed another check of P200,000 for fish the cage project initiated by the 4-H club of San Pedro District.

Saliot said he wanted the youth to renew their interest in farming by taking up courses in agriculture and fishery and “take over their parents as farmers of the future.”

Back to Parawan, he said that the agriculture department’s mission is to increase food production in the country through the FIELDS program, acronym for Fertilizer, Irrigation, Extension, Loans, Dryers and Seeds.

The agriculture official added that the flatbed dryers, which are provided by the Bureau of Postharvest Research and Extension (BPRE) will ease losses and quality deterioration of freshly harvested grains.

For a flatbed dryer to work, grains are loaded and laid out manually on perforated screen flooring and dried by forcing hot air from the plenum below the grain bed. The rice hull fed furnace provides the heat for drying.

The BPRE has said that flatbed dryers are low on cost compared to existing mechanical dryers due to the use of rice hull as fuel, low labor requirement and low maintenance cost and will reduce postharvest losses by 5 percent of the total production.

Parawan disclosed that in Zamboanga Peninsula, postharvest losses are estimated at 30,000 metric tons per year in rice equivalent to P300 million a year.

Also, Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) regional coordinator Florence Agustin said that as to soil fertility, they collaborated with DA in promoting organic agriculture the region.

Agustin added that they have identified 58 sites as recipients of their community-based composting facility for organic fertilizer production. He identified Brgy. Tawagan Sur, this city, as one of their beneficiaries.

Co, in his message, thanked the DA for the “numerous multi-million projects” citing, among others, the heavy duty farm tractor given to the city, farm-to-market roads and a cold storage facility installed in this city bagsakan center.

Just last Thursday, the provincial office of the National Irrigation Administration turned-over the communal irrigation system (CIS) in Brgy. Tulawas.

The P1.5-million CIS will serve 70 hectares of rice land and is seen to benefit some 40 farmer-members of the Tulawas Irrigators Association.