Ever since, abaca has been a priority agricultural commodity of Eastern Samar, where the majority of poor farmers in the northern part of the province are engaged in hemp production and from which they derive enough income. However, production has declined in recent years largely due to Abaca Bunchy Top Virus that decimated almost half of the area planted to the crop. The situation was further aggravated when super Typhoon Yolanda struck and devastated abaca farms throughout Eastern Visayas region.
Hence, to massively rehabilitate abaca development in the province, the project entitled, “Livelihood Assistance for Abaca Farmers in Eastern Samar,” was launched at the Provincial Capitol Lobby, Borongan City on 29 August 2018.
It is currently being implemented in a total area of 275 hectares in the abaca–producing municipalities of Oras, Dolores, Arteche, Gen. MacArthur, Taft, Can–Avid, San Policarpo, Jipapad, and Maslog. A total of 1,100 poor farmers will be benefited by it through the provision of planting materials and fertilizers and training them on new abaca production technology.
The launching program was well attended. Present were the Local Chief Executives (LCEs) of Arteche, Oras, and Gen. MacArthur; heads or representatives of concerned line government agencies: (National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) 8, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)–Eastern Samar, Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) 8, Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA–SAAD) Program 8; Non-Government Organizations (NGOs): CECI Concern and ECOWEB, Inc.; Provincial and Municipal Local Government Unit (P/MLGU) staff; Regional and Provincial Management Support Office (R/PPMSO) personnel of the SAAD Program; and the farmer–partners.
Director Sem Cordial of the National Anti–Poverty Commission (NAPC), in his Opening Message, highlighted the effectiveness of the convergence strategy in fighting poverty by citing the efforts of the Convergence for Poverty Reduction through Industry Development in Eastern Samar (C4PRIDES) so this project would materialize.
Provincial Agriculturist (PA) Mr. Deogracias C. Paano informed the audience that a tissue culture laboratory infrastructure project of the PLGU worth Php 6 Million, that would offer free technical training on tissue culture to interested parties, is in the offing. This is in addition to the Provincial Government’s provision of about Php 30 Million as livelihood assistance to farmers and fisherfolk.
In his Key Message, Dr. Andrew Rodolfo T. Orais, DA–Regional Field Office (RFO) 8 Regional Technical Director (RTD) for Operations and SAAD RPMSO 8 Focal Person, underscored the event’s significance as it marked a milestone for SAAD Program, as it has now expanded its coverage from projects involving rice, corn, high value crops (HVC), livestock, and root crops to abaca, whose production has a high earning potential due to the big demand for its fiber from the pulp industry sector here and abroad.
He said, “Eastern Samar is indeed very fortunate to receive funding from SAAD Program for this project because the province is the only area among all SAAD Program areas in the country that will be implementing this type of project for the next two (2) years.”
The ceremonial turnover of project funds in the amount of Php 6,680,000.00 immediately followed. The cheque was received by PhilFIDA 8 Acting Director Wilardo Sinahon, whose agency will be in–charge of the overall implementation of the project.
Total funding for the project is Php 15 Million, which will be released in two tranches. For 2018, the amount turned over will be used for replanting of abaca with fertilization and conduct of abaca farmers’ retooling. In 2019, the remaining amount of Php 8,320,000.00 will also be released for the same purpose upon liquidation of the 1st tranche.
Writer: Michael F. Dabuet, DA-RFO 8 Adminstrative Officer III
Copy Editor: Ela Arciaga, SAAD NPMO PR & Communications Officer
Originally published on Peryodikit – August News (Issue No. VIII, Volume No. II Series of 2018), Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development Program (DA-SAAD) RFO VIII Official Publication