Gov bares economic recovery measures for Benguet farmers

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – – Governor Melchor Diclas said the provincial government earmarked some amount for affected cutflower and vegetable farmers as part of its economic recovery program on agriculture for those affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Diclas said this in his interview with Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar in the Laging Handa Network briefing on July 16.The province has allotted P3.2 million for the affected cutflower and vegetable farmers.
“Sila po ang inuuna natin bigyan ng ayuda para po makapagsimula ulit sila” (We have prioritized them in terms of extending financial assistance so they have something to start with), he said.
At least 50 affected farmers for every municipality will benefit from this assistance. Cutflower farmers who are the most affected as they were not able to sell during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) will receive P5,000.00 each while vegetable farmers like those whose crops were not sold will be granted P2,500 each, according to the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAG).
Financial assistance for some farmers in Sablan, Buguias, Kapangan and the capital town whose documents are complete are already on process.
Requirements are certification from the barangay captain that they are not recipient of any government assistance and attachment of certified photo copy of identification card.
Earlier, the Department of Agriculture released loans to affected cutflower growers in some parts of the province. The loan amount is P25, 000.00 at zero-interest rate with no collateral requirements and is payable within 10 years. The amount will be used for them to recover from the effect of the ECQ so they can start their farm operations or invest in other ventures.
Diclas also mentioned the P20M- worth DA financial assistance for the establishment of a food processing plant in La Trinidad. This project in partnership with the Benguet State University, aims to add value to vegetable and fruits produced by farmers and prevents the wastage of these if there is oversupply especially during the peak season.
For the African Swine Fever-hit areas, DA extended P2.8M financial assistance to affected swine raisers and were advised to shift to poultry production.
Meanwhile, on the query of Sec. Andanar on new of varieties of potato being propagated in Benguet, Diclas said research studies on the imported potato varieties which initially started in the past administration are still ongoing exploring on the production of potatoes with lesser moisture content ideal for potato fries which is the demand of food chains.
What are being produced are the table potato variety used as ingredients for adobo, Diclas said, but the Buguias LGU and the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist are continuously doing research studies on the different potato varieties. **JDP/SCA-PIA CAR, Benguet

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