DA allots P100 million for R&D initiatives
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - September 26, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government is allocating P100 million to beef up its research and development to address the diseases and other challenges that the farm sector is facing.

The money will go to the College of Agriculture and Food Science (CAFS) of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar called on the institution to level up its involvement in the academic, research and development, and lead studies on the issues of fall armyworm and fusarium wilt or Panama disease on bananas.

Of the P100 million, P50 million has been earmarked for the Research Crop Protection Center focusing on plant diseases, P30 million for the Institute of Plant Breeding, and P20 million for the establishment of the packing house facility inside the UPLB campus.

The facility will serve as a storage and trading area for Laguna farmers.

As the country moves toward the new normal, Dar said the sector needs to focus on the development of models of inclusive agribusiness anchored on value chain systems to engage the youth, digitalization of the sector, and development of demand-driven and market-oriented research and extension systems.

Around P52 million has also been set aside for the implementation of  more projects in Lupao in Nueva Ecija following the successful implementation of its Sa Palay at Gulay-May Ani, Hanapbuhay, Oportunidad, at Nutrisyon (PAG-AHON) project.

The regional field office has distributed inbred and hybrid rice seeds worth P13.5 million and fertilizers worth P10 million to the farmers of Lupao. It also implemented a small water impounding project in the municipality amounting to P10 million.

The Philippine Carabao Center likewise invested P8 million for the distribution of 25 dairy carabaos and the implementation of large-scale silage production.

PAG-AHON started in May following the instruction of Dar for DA offices to adopt a town and to partner with agencies and companies.

The directive aims to showcase food production technologies, enhance household food security, and promote massive vegetable gardening as part of the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant umbrella program.

Four months later, Lupao farmers facilitated six deliveries and supplied 5.9 metric tons of vegetables to Dizon Farms.

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