Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur – Department of Agriculture Secretary William Dar led the turn-over and ceremonial groundbreaking of various projects in the second district of Ilocos Sur that will soon rise to benefit students, farmers as well as fisherfolk in the province.
With a total project cost of P156.8 million, Sec. Dar graced the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Provincial Trading Center and the AA Abattoir to be established in Brgy. Danuman West, Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur; the Sea Urchin Breeding, Hatchery and Nursery at Brgy. Nalvo, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur; and the rehabilitation of Small Water Impounding Project (SWIP) in Balballasioan, Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur.
The Provincial Trading Center and the AA Abattoir projects amounting to P116 million aims to provide better market access of farmers’ produce in the province. With added facilities like cold storage and packing area, agri commodities can be properly sorted and packed to achieve value-adding and increase the market value of the farmers’ produce brought in the said facility.
“Trading posts or centers are essential to have those agricultural commodities produced in the countryside be able to have a common facility where they can be brought to have better opportunity of linkage to big companies and other markets in Metro Manila.” Dar explained. “We aim to establish a platform where we can eliminate middlemen and have traders with good heart access our farmers’ products through the (trading) centers at a fair price.”, he added.
On the Abattoir project, Sec. Dar said although the facility has been approved as AA Slaughterhouse category, this can be upgraded into AAA category so that it can attract investments from big processing companies that are importing meat for their raw materials.
Meanwhile, the Sea Urchin Breeding, Hatchery and Nursery that shall be established in Brgy. Nalvo, amounting to P4.8 million is intended for the students of the Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College in Narvacan Campus which aims to provide enough supply of seedstock for sea urchin growers through the adoption of economically viable seed production system in general and will also serve as a learning facility for students taking up fishery-related courses.
Sec. Dar through the DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) also spearheaded the turning over of various fishery projects to the municipalities of Narvacan, Sta. Maria, San Esteban, Santiago and Candon City benefiting 101 individual registered fisherfolk and forty (40) fishermen’s association who received sea urchin cages for commercialization purposes and the tuna conservation and management zone – payao project.
A total of 100 modules with five units cage per module was turned-over to the beneficiaries amounting to P5million which are intended to collect, develop and maintain good quality broodstock of sea urchin for breeding and nursery and to ensure ready and available source of seedstock.
These fishery projects are all in support to Sta. Maria’s vision to be a center for sea urchin and other marine products in the North and the leading importer of sea urchin to Asian countries.
Dar also inspected the ongoing irrigation project worth P29.2M. The project will increase farm productivity catering an additional service area of 250 hectare and will benefit 137 farmers in Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur.