By Minerva BC Newman
CEBU CITY – The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA) allocated about P3.7 million in financial assistance for the development and expansion projects of abaca and cotton farmers in Negros Oriental.
DA secretary William Dar and FIDA-7 Regional Director Benjamin Gomo turned over the checks worth P1,732,000 to the Pederasyon sa Nagkahugpong ng mga Mag-uuma nga Nanalipod ug Nagpasig-uli sa Kinaiyahaan (PNAGMANAK) and Nangka Famers Association or NAFA respectively during a Farmers’ Forum in Dumaguete City recently.
PNAGMANAK Director Apolinario Cariñom, and NAFA President Jose Gila accepted the checks with the commitment of expanding the abaca plantations and rehabilitation of about 150 hectares of abaca farms in Negros Oriental.
FIDA-NegOr Nena Locsin said there was a greater need to increase the production of abaca fiber to cope with the growing demand for natural fiber in the local and international markets as companies today are going organic.
Locsin added that huge volumes of abaca fiber are now used for production of tea bags, security papers, print paper money, cards, handicrafts and bank notes.
Locsin bared that the P2-million fund for NAFA will be earmarked for cotton development for the more than 100 farmers from eight barangays in Bayawan City, while PNAGMANAK is composed of 17 federated farmer associations in the entire province of Negros Oriental.
In the same Farmers’ Forum, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), through its participatory coconut planting project (PCPP), also gave out checks in various amounts as cash incentives for coconut farmers who are planting coconut trees in their own farmlands.
According to PCA-Officer-in-charge Marita Somido, the checks varies in the amount depending on the number of coco seedlings they have planted. Coco famers are paid P40 per seedling planted in their farms.
Somido said that under the coconut seedlings dispersal project (CSDP) the PCA distributes good quality coconut seedling to farmers and partners like local government units.
Some 17 farmers from the municipality of Dauin were given 72 high breed coco seedlings for each farmer which is equivalent to half a hectare of farmland planted.