Friday, May 27, 2011

P20M for Bohol food sufficiency

P20M for Bohol food sufficiency
Manila Bulletin
May 27, 2011

TAGBILARAN CITY, Philippines — Over 2,000 farmers in three towns in this province will soon benefit from the P20-million grant for the establishment of the Bohol Food Sufficiency Project that offers technical assistance, infrastructure and facilities to improve farm yields and income.

This came after the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the Karl Kubel Stiftung fur Kind un Familie (KKS) recently entered into a P20-million grant agreement to help reduce poverty in Bohol by providing technical assistance, infrastructure and facilities.

The P20-million grant will be used for the construction of 12 small water impounding systems, implementation of appropriate farming technologies to 2,011 farmers and installation of 12 post-harvest facilities to help 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. PBSP also introduced organic farming using vermi-compost and other appropriate farming technologies for increased farm income.

KSS department head Thomas Westernmann together with PBSP officers recently paid Governor Edgar Chatto a courtesy call, while the rest of the KKS team visited project areas and met with local partners like the Carmen multi-purpose cooperative, Bohol Integrated Development Foundation, Inc. (BIDEF) and San Miguel (town) multipurpose cooperative.

The Bohol Food Sufficiency Project is a partnership initiative with the provincial government of Bohol which aims to uplift the lives of 2,011 rice farming households and help ensure food sufficiency in the province.

The project is also in support of the Bohol HEAT Program and will be implemented in the municipalities of Carmen, Dagohoy and San Miguel.

Food security has become one of the major issues in Bohol due to insufficient volume of agricultural produce in supporting the growing demand of the province.

Recent data from the National Statistics Office shows that Bohol’s population has now reached 1.3 million, but that farmers can only provide for 82 percent of them.

With poverty reduction as one of PBSP’s major thrusts, PBSP initiated projects to help Bohol’s rice sufficiency through its Area Resource Management Program which caters to 10,010 poor families in the province, according to Jun Salgados, PBSP program coordinator in Bohol.

Salgados also said that 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 its implementation in 1992, PBSP’s poverty reduction program had already built up 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 Bohol Food Sufficiency Project now, PBSP 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 also extend a revolving fund for agriculture and marketing of organic products 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.

PBSP will also train 30 barefoot technicians who will replicate the technologies to other farmers.

The project will run for three years and will be co-implemented by Carmen Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CMPC), Bohol Integrated Development Foundation (BIDEF), and San Miguel Multi-zPurpose Cooperative (SMMPC).