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Agri funds channeled to stricken areas

/ 01:10 AM October 10, 2011

The government recently released funds to boost rice production particularly in calamity-stricken areas.

Data from the Department of Budget and Management showed that more than a quarter of funds released for on-farm and postharvest programs went to Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon.

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The DBM in late September disbursed P534.3 million for the program, of which 27 percent, or P145.8 million, went to the two regions badly hit by typhoons “Pedring” and “Quiel.”

Among the country’s administrative regions, Central Luzon acquired the biggest share at P83.6 million, while Cagayan Valley got P62.1 billion. Western Visayas received P66.4 billion.

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According to Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad, the disbursement is for the purchase of hand tractors, seed cleaners, threshers, flatbed dryers and rice mill.

Abad said in a statement that the disbursements would also fund assistance on the testing and evaluation of on-farm and postharvest rice equipment.

The fund release “supports the Aquino administration’s goal of achieving rice self-sufficiency by 2013,” Abad said.

“To make the country rice self-sufficient, the government is pursuing means to maximize the harvest of every farmer through post-harvest technologies that reduce wastage. This will ultimately lead to more income for our farmers.”

Last September 7, agriculture ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and those of China, Japan and South Korea signed the Asean Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) agreement to ensure long-term food security and livelihood of the people in East Asia.

Under the agreement, the 13 countries commit to build up a reserve of 787,000 tons of rice in anticipation of supply instability resulting from natural disasters.

Also, the concerned countries will have to raise $4 million for an endowment fund.

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The Philippines is contributing 12,000 tons of rice to the stock, and $107,500 for the fund, according to the Jakarta-based Asean Secretariat.

The 13 countries account for around two-thirds of global rice production and more than half of global rice exports.

“Trade in the region, however, has been very small—only 5 to 6 percent of the world’s rice production in the world market,” Asean secretary general Surin Pitsuwan said in statement.

Surin said that with the establishment of APTERR, the region would be better prepared to meet food relief requirements resulting from natural disasters and humanitarian emergency situations.

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TAGS: Agriculture, Philippines, rice production, state budget
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