The Department of Agriculture (DA) allocated P161 million of agriculture interventions to rice farmers in Caraga region for CY 2021.

DA 13 Regional Technical Director (RTD) for Operations Rebecca R. Atega said that the bulk of intervention for this year is dedicated to the non-Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) provinces – Surigao del Norte and Province of Dinagat Islands (PDI).

“Our support continues with the three provinces – Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Surigao del Sur through the DA attached agencies & bureaus and other implementing agencies under the RCEF Program. Rest assured that more interventions are coming for the rice sector in the region,” RTD Atega said.

This year, portions of the budget go to the following interventions: Production Support Services (PSS) – ₱81 million, Extension Support, Education, Training Services (ESETS) – ₱27 million, Research and Development (RD) – ₱9 million, and Agri Infrastructure and Farm Mechanization (AIFFM) P43 million.

Aside from the regular Rice Program (RP), DA-Caraga is also currently implementing the Rice Resiliency Project 2 (RRP 2) with a total budget allocation of P229 Million for seeds, fertilizers, and logistics support for the current cropping season (Sept 2020-Mar 2021).

All programs and projects for the rice sector are being lined up to improve and increase farmers’ income in accordance with directives of the Secretary of Agriculture following the guidelines under the “Plant, Plant, Plant Program” (4Ps).

Moreover, part of the strategies to accelerate the implementation of the projects for the rice sector is the continuous partnership with the Local Government Units (LGUs).

Through RA 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991, the decentralization limited the DA to have operational control over the LGU personnel working directly with the farmers. As a National Government Agency, DA’s influence in LGU’s decisions is mainly executed through the budgetary process since the budget for agricultural development projects remain under the control of the Department.

RTD Atega encouraged the LGUs to continuously link the local farmers to various programs of the agency. “We recognize that the Municipal and City Agriculture Offices are the effective launching pads of DA’s program and services. We want to engage everyone to be partakers to attain a modest agriculture sector growth in the region,” she said during the technical briefing conducted for the Municipal Agriculturist and Rice Coordinators in the Province of Agusan del Norte and Butuan City on January 26.

Series of technical briefings for the rest of the Caraga provinces are scheduled this week to discuss the processes in availing the interventions to guide the LGUs for proper and smooth implementation., DA 13 Regional Information Officer Emmylou T. Presilda also said.