PB re-aligns P15.16 M for the farmer-scientists training program

IMG_2418The Cebu Provincial Board (PB) approved the re-alignment of P15.16 million unused budget of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) initially intended for the Integrated Farming System Development Program (IFSDP) to the corn-based Farmer-Scientists Training Program (FSTP).

FSTP represents the new program of the Provincial Government under the leadership of Governor Hilario P. Davide III, who has recently appointed his uncle, Dr. Romulo Davide, a Ramon Magsaysay awardee, as a consultant of the OPA.

In her resolution passed last Monday, August 5, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale stated that in the PB Resolution No. 113-2013 enacting Appropriation Ordinance No. 2013-1, the PB approved the proposed budget for OPA amounting to P18.31 million that was intended for the ISFDP. However, only P3.15 million was released to the ISFDP when Vice Governor Magpale took over as Acting Governor last January 2013.

Thus, the OPA has an outstanding balance of P15.16 million from the original allocation of P18.31. In support of the re-alignment, Magpale further stated that the OPA, “in its desire to outlive and continuously implement the plans and agenda of the ISFDP is expressly requesting to modify, transfer and allocate the remaining balance to the FSTP”

One key component of the ISFDP is the provision for agricultural insurance for the marginalized farmers and fisherfolks, their livestock, crops, and motorized and non-motorized bancas. Provincial Agriculturist Roldan Saragena, however, explained that the insurance policy with Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation would continue even with the new FSTP program, although the new administration is reviewing the terms and conditions of the same.

According to Magpale’s resolution, the OPA will appropriate the funds as follows: a) P10 million for FSTP activities such as techno-demo inputs, foodstuff, and training supplies; and b) P5.16 million for FSTP Insurance Programs for farmers and fisherfolks for their crops, livestock, and motorized and non-motorized bancas.

Under the FSTP, the implementing agency will introduce modern agricultural technology to the participating farmers in order to increase productivity and to make them more resilient to the hazards of climate change in the agriculture industry. Dr. Davide successfully spearheaded a similar project in Argao and in 2012 was conferred the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay award in recognition of his efforts for instituting the program. (Xerxes Alkuino)