Capitol to give P1-M aid to implementing LGUs

By: Victor Anthony V. Silva May 30,2016 - 09:37 AM

More farmers in the province are expected to benefit from the Farmer-Scientist Training Program (FSTP) as the Capitol is set to distribute P1 million as financial assistance to each implementing local government unit.

The Cebu Provincial Board (PB) on Monday approved a resolution authorizing Gov. Hilario Davide III to release the amount to 47 implementing LGUs.

“The assistance will expand the coverage of the program, allowing us to reach farmers even in the most remote villages and encourage them to join,” Provincial Agriculturist Rolanda Saragena told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview yesterday.

Governor Davide has yet to sign an agreement with the implementing local governments so he can download the funds to them.

Saragena said the provincial government has trained more than 6,000 farmers under the FSTP since 2013. There are over 300,000 recognized farmers in the province.

He said that out of the 51 component cities and municipalities, only the cities of Mandaue and Talisay, and Compostela town have not implemented the program at present. He added, however, that Compostela is set to undertake the program next month.

The financial assistance will be given to the beneficiary LGUs in three tranches, the first of which will be P300,000.

Saragena said Capitol has set aside a total of P10 million for the first tranche. The provincial government’s allocation for the implementation of FSTP all over the province this year is P39 million, and covers trainings and agricultural inputs.

The Capitol official added that aside from expanding the program, the financial assistance will also enable the local governments to manage their own expenses.

“The provincial government can’t guide them forever. I hope there will come a time when they will be the ones to implement the program,” said Saragena.

Initiated by Dr. Romulo Davide, the FSTP aims to help farmers increase their crop production and income through trainings and distribution of planting materials, such as high-yielding corn.

According to a Capitol press release, Dr. Davide, Capitol agriculture consultant, prepared the guidelines on the use of funds from the provincial government.

“At least 50 percent will be spent for the FSTP training, while 20 percent will be disbursed for farm inputs and fertilizers, seeds, and others,” the press release stated.

Twenty percent will be spent on crop production and market assistance, and the remaining 10 percent for other farming needs.

In the draft memorandum of agreement, the provincial government will be offering awards and recognition to farmer-scientists whose average corn yield reaches six to seven tons per hectare with an annual income of P100,000.

Tuburan Mayor Democrito Diamante, whose local government has been implementing the FSTP, said the program has benefited many farmers in his town in the previous years.

Since 2014, he said more than 500 Tuburan farmers have been trained under the FSTP.

He said the local government supports the program and is very eager to shell out funds to maximize its implementation.

“It will be very hard to set aside our own budget for the program, but we are very eager to do so nonetheless,” Diamante said over the phone.

Tuburan has an annual budget of only P120 million.

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TAGS: Capitol, Cebu, farmer, Provincial Board, scientist

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