Saturday, April 16, 2011

Poor farmers in Bohol to benefit from P20M aid grant

Poor farmers in Bohol to benefit from P20M aid grant 
Philippine Information Agency
April 16, 2011

CEBU CITY, Apr. 16 (PIA) --- About 2,000 poor farmers in Bohol will have the opportunity to increase their harvest and up their income with a P20M grant provided to them in a program dubbed the Bohol Food Sufficiency (BFS) Project.

The BFS Project is a result of an agreement by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Karl Kubel Stifung fur Kind un Familie (KKS) aimed at helping reduce poverty incidence in the province, according to a PBSP release.

A partnership initiative with the provincial government of Bohol, the project goal is to uplift the lives of 2,011 rice farming households and help ensure food sufficiency in the province, the same PBSP release stated.

The project will be implemented in three municipalities namely Carmen, Dagohoy and San Miguel and is also in support of the province’s Bohol HEAT (Help-Education -Agriculture-Tourism) Program.

With the grant, poor farmers will benefit from the construction of 12 small water impounding systems, installation of 12 post-harvest facilities and implementation of appropriate farming technologies that will improve the farmers’ annual yields.

Small water impounding systems allow farmers to plant rice in advance and plant more crops throughout the year, increasing their annual rice yields without depending on the planting season, this is said.

PBSP likewise introduced to the farmers the importance of organic farming using vermin-compost and other appropriate farming technologies for increased farm income.

PBSP is the largest corporate-led social development foundation in the country and the first of its kind in Asia leading the promotion and practice of corporate social responsibility in its commitment to poverty reduction. More than 260 companies comprise the PBSP nationwide with its focused programs throughout the country on education, health, sustainable livelihood, micro small and medium enterprise development and the environment implemented with partners and communities as empowered players in development.

Food security meanwhile has become one of the major issues in Bohol due to insufficient volume of agricultural produce in supporting the growing demand of the province as recent data from the National Statistics Office reported that the province’s population has hiked to 1.3M since last year. However, the farmers could only provide 82 percent of the province’s needs, according to the PBSP.

With poverty reduction an essential thrust, PBSP initiated projects to help Bohol’s rice sufficiency through its Area Resource Management Program (ARMP), which benefited 10,010 poor families in Bohol.

Through the program, PBSP has assisted nine rice-producing municipalities and 103 barangays in Central Bohol by improving farming technology, livelihood and enterprise productivity of the beneficiaries.

Since the ARMP has been implemented in 1992 or for almost two decades, PBSP’s poverty reduction program has built the capacities of 33 community-based organizations and constructed 40 small irrigation systems while 60 percent of the total household beneficiaries realized incomes above the poverty threshold of P10,435.

With the BFS Project, PBSP said it hopes to help more farmers meet the increasing production demand of Bohol by focusing on sustainable production, credit support, production facilities and organic rice value chain for tourism and marketing.

The project will include the provision of revolving fund for agriculture and marketing of organic products will also be included to assist the cooperatives as the demand for agricultural products such as rice, vegetables and fish has eventually increased due to the influx of domestic and foreign tourists, this is said.

PBSP will also conduct training of 30 barefoot technicians for the replication of technologies to other farmers.

The project will run for three years and will be co-implemented by Carmen Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Bohol Integrated Development Foundation, and San Miguel Multi-Purpose Cooperative, this is learned.

Since PBSP’as inception in 1970, its core programs have benefited 4.5M Filipinos nationwide and assisted over 6,200 social development projects through more than P7B in grants and development loans. (PIA-Cebu/FCR/ Reggie Marie B. Barrientos of PBSP)