FLORA, Apayao – Some 298 farmers from the barangays of Flora in Apayao province are now reaping the benefits of the improved Sta. Maria-Mallig-Upper Atok Farm-to-Market Road (FMR).
According to the Joint Inspectorate Team (JIT), the 11.8-kilometer road project which was implemented under the Department of Agriculture–Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) and the Provincial Local Government Unit of Apayao, is 100 percent complete.
Approved in October 2020 to help the development of the banana industry in the province, the P195.95-million FMR project was funded by the World Bank (80%0, DA (10%), and the PLGU of Apayao (10%).
The FMR is now benefitting more than 298 households within its road influence area. It covers three barangays, namely, Sta. Maria, Mallig, and Upper Atok, where the bulk of the municipality’s banana production comes from.
Prudencio Bosing, agriculturist of Apayao, said the road improvement has facilitated the movement of commodities that are produced within the project area, particularly banana.
The municipality of Flora is where large plantations of bananas can be found.
Before the road improvement, sledge carts and carabaos were mostly used by farmers in transporting their agricultural produce from their farms/residences to the nearest public utility transport post located at barangay Sta. Maria.
Now, private vehicles and motorcycles can safely pass through the road without hassle.
Despite the improvement, the barangays covered by the FMR still have to contend with the local insurgency, particularly Upper Atok and parts of Mallig.
With the infrastructure project giving life to the community, Congresswoman Eleanor C. Begtang-Bulut reported that several rebels have already yielded for a chance at more livelihood opportunities.
“This PRDP road in Flora has really helped us in our efforts to end local insurgency and because of this road, more than 200 leftists in barangay Upper Atok have surrendered recently,” she said.