Over Php219 million worth of agricultural interventions were successfully turned-over by Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar to Pangasinan farmers in his recent visit in the province for the signing of Memorandum of Agreement with Pangasinan Governor Amado I. Espino III to revive the operation of the Rice Processing Complex established in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan.

Sharing the big chunk of these interventions is the Php176 million worth of irrigation and postharvest facilities which include small water impounding project (SWIP), diversion dams, warehouse and multi-purpose drying pavement awarded to fourteen (14) farmers’ associations in Balungao, Pangasinan.

Along with the distribution of agricultural projects to farmers, Sec. Dar also led the blessing, inauguration and turn-over of the Crops Research and Development Center and the Garlic Tissue Culture Laboratory for the DA’s Pangasinan Research and Experiment Center (DA-PREC) in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan that aims to improve the capacity of DA in Ilocos to provide farmers better production technologies thru research and hopes to produce virus-free garlic planting materials that would help further boost the garlic industry in the region.

In his message during the MOA signing for the resumption of the RPC’s operation, Sec. Dar vowed to help the province enable the facility’s operation as he have seen how Governor Espino showed enthusiasm and persistence to make the RPC facility operational.

As such, Governor Espino, in his message affirmed Pangasinan’s allocation of P500 million for the purchase of palay produced by farmers and shall establish one rice facility in Mabini and San Quintin for both Western and Eastern parts of Pangasinan to sustain operation of the RPC. According to the Governor, a team was already organized to discuss the procurement process leading to the full operation of the RPC.

With the P282 million investment of DA and the government of Korea and the Provincial Government of Pangasinan, the RPC is expected to benefit more than 200,000 rice farmers in the province. Sec. Dar lauded The Province of Pangasinan which he considers as one of the highly performing provinces entire the Philippines when it comes to agricultural production, and with the able and competent leadership of Gov. Espino, he is confident that the facility will be fully maximized to provide benefit to rice farmers.

With last year’s 90% production of rice in the country, it requires for another 10% that shall be sourced-out from rice exporting countries to make the country sufficient on its requirement, Sec. Dar is broadening the market access on rice, with India, the top rice importing country in the world as among the best option to source-out this deficit.

Meanwhile, with the P8.4 billion unused excess tariffs of rice, Sec. Dar announced that it shall be given back to farmers tilling 2 hectares and below a total of P5,000 each in the form of social amelioration. Almost 1.5 million rice farmers are expected to receive such assistance once the guidelines shall be finalized.###

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