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DA seeks P900-M loan from Jica

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DA seeks P900-M loan from Jica

/ 12:20 AM January 06, 2017

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is pushing for a P900-million loan with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) for a program to fully mechanize select clusters of farms starting with 10 pilot areas of 1,000-hectares each.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol Thursday said that under the proposed Philippine Agricultural Modernization Program, the DA intended to provide farmers in 10 model sites nationwide with farm equipment, post-harvest facilities, technical support and institutional development.

Piñol said each of the model sites, which have yet to be identified, would have clusters of rice farms totaling 1,000 hectares per area.

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For these clusters, he said the DA would coordinate with established cooperatives to handle the management of the farm equipment and the eventual lease to local farmers.

The Agriculture chief said he hoped for the DA to sign a memorandum of understanding with Jica related to the proposed program loan when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits Manila in the third week of January.

The Japanese aid agency has ongoing initiatives related to the construction and rehabilitation of rural infrastructure facilities such as irrigation systems, farm-to-market roads, post-harvest facilities and potable water supply systems all over the Philippines.

The proposed loan program is meant to “modernize Philippine agriculture and help realize the Duterte administration’s goals of producing and making available affordable food to Filipinos,” Piñol said.

He added he hoped the farm mechanization program could help raise the productivity of local farmers and reduce post-harvest losses.

He said rice farmers lose an average of 16 percent of their grains in the course of post-harvest handling.

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