PIA News Service - Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010

P2-B DA-MRDP infra project to benefit thousands Mindanao farmers

BUTUAN CITY (20 February) – The Department of Agriculture’s Mindanao Rural Development Program (DA-MRDP) is set to open P2 billion farm-to-market roads (FMR), post-harvest facilities and other infrastructures this year to help thousands of farmers’ and traders increase their farm production.

MRDP is a long-term poverty alleviation program of the national government through, DA, with funding from a loan portfolio of the World Bank and equity from the local government units (LGUs).

Northeastern Mindanao (Caraga region), which has completed the most number of infrastructure projects last year and early this month, is set to implement about P132 million worth of more projects.

It will target the vast agricultural-rich production areas in Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.

This new development came out after President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo visited Caraga region early this week, particularly in Surigao provinces.

Mrs. Arroyo inspected the completed and on-going big road projects in Surigao provinces and southern tip province of Davao Oriental in Southern Mindanao region.

The road projects cut time travel and transportation expenses of farmers in effect increasing their income. While traders could access fresh farm produce and buy them at a fair farm-gate price. Other facilities like irrigation and post-harvest facilities help increase productivity.

Pres. Arroyo underscored the importance of investing in post-harvest technologies for farmers to weather the impact of climate change and prevent post-harvest losses to improve harvest quality and quantity.

In Northern Mindanao (Region 10), over P94 million worth of projects are set to established as some projects have been completed early this year while a bulk are either on-going or at procurement stage.

The projects in the Northern Mindanao region will benefit the provinces of Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental and Misamis Occidental.

In Southern Mindanao (Region 11), the DA has also prepared one of the biggest pipeline amounting to P158.68 million which infrastructure projects will benefit the provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao del Sur and Davao Oriental while over P130 million worth of projects has been earmarked for the provinces of Sarangani, North and South Cotabato.

On the other hand, Western Mindanao (Region 9) is set to target over P143 million worth of infrastructure mostly in the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay.

The DA also said the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) posted the highest target of P206 million worth of projects.

Mindanao Super Region champion Jesus Dureza and Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) chair Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana see the big farm production within the coming years after all the DA-MRDP projects will be completed this year. They also expressed optimism that Mindanao vision as “food basket” in the country will be fulfilled.

The DA added that these target areas are strategically located in key production areas in Mindanao to pump-prime the capacity of local farmers and traders.

"All these are vital in attaining food security and sufficiency and improving productivity in the southern island," said Agusan del Sur Gov. Maria Valentina Plaza.

To date, DA-MRDP has completed over 58 kilometers of farm-to-market roads in the Caraga region, two units of level-2 potable water systems and a 6-meter bridge. (muc/ PIA-Caraga)