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SAPS-HCAAP sustainability plan gains support from government agencies

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by Francisca O. Tan

Various government agencies in Northern Samar committed to support rice farmers’ sustainability plan during the Multi-stakeholders Meeting held on November 7 at the Governor’s Conference Room, Capitol Building, Northern Samar. Vice Governor Gary Manook Lavin presided the meeting.

The sustainability plan is one of the outputs of the Special Assistance for Project Sustainability for the Help of Catubig Agricultural Advancement Project (SAPS-HCAAP). The rice farmers who belong to the 12 irrigators’ associations (IAs) in the Municipalities of Catubig and Las Navas, Northern Samar prepared the plan together with the concerned agencies/organizations during the 4th SAPS-HCAAP Planning Workshop held on July 23-24, and it was finalized during its 5th Planning Workshop on November 6-7. Both activities were conducted at the Governor’s Conference Room of the Capitol Building.

Director Blanquita R. Pantoja of the Community Innovations Studies Center (CISC) of CPAf presented the final sustainability plan during the Multi-stakeholders Meeting and successfully received the continuous support of concerned agencies. Specifically, they committed to provide financial assistance to farmers (Office of the Provincial Agriculturist through its Land Bunding Program and Department of Social Welfare and Development Regional and Provincial Offices); maintain peace and order in the SAPS-HCAAP areas (Armed Forces of the Philippines), support the construction and rehabilitation of farm-to-market roads (FMRs) in the covered areas (Department of Public Works and Highways); and provide additional equipment for repair and maintenance of earth-lined canal (National Irrigation Administration). The Local Government of Las Navas and Catubig also promised to incorporate the sustainability plan in the 2018-2020 Municipal Development Plan.

The sustainability plan addresses the issues, problems, and concerns of farmers, particularly IA members, as pointed out in the socio-economic survey conducted by Dir. Pantoja and the project team. The plan proposes the following programs: 1) Capacity building for technology transfer and sustainability, particularly the strengthening of IAs; 2) Conduct of networking and linking sessions; 3) Credit and microfinance programs; 4) Provision of insurance; 5) Land development, paddy diking and land bunding; 6) Maintenance of irrigation systems; 7) Addressing tenure and land use problems; 8) Construction/rehabilitation of FMRs; 9) Capacitate local government units in marketing of produce; and 10) Encouraging the youth to go to agriculture.

The CISC led the implementation of SAPS-HCAAP funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with Dir. Pantoja as project leader. Members of the team were CPAf Dean Rolando T. Bello, Mr. Danilo J. Lalican, and Mr. Rene L. Limosinero of UPLB College of Agriculture and Food Science, and Dr. Jaime F. Sanico of the University of Eastern Philippines. CISC researchers Francisca O. Tan, Mena E. Umali, and Florita P. Raneses were also involved in the project. It was conducted from June 23, 2017 to October 31, 2018.

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