PILI, Camarines Sur —- Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala has laid out an array of programs and undertakings of the Department of Agricultural (DA) intended to achieve food sufficiency in the country during the gathering of some 1,000 farmers, local chief executives and stakeholders on Thursday, Sept. 23 at the Camarines Sur Convention Center here.
Alcala’s visit in Camarines Sur was his first in Bicol since he assumed the DA top post on June 30 this year.
A two-term congressman of the 2nd District of Quezon province, Alcala has been a relentless advocate of agricultural reforms in Congress, more specifically concerning organic agriculture.
Included in the Alcala’s significant itinerary was the inauguration of the Japan 2KR-assisted NAFC facilities consisting of a mini-laboratory, mini feed mill, post harvest and training hall cum dormitory at the Regional Freshwater Fisheries Center (RFFC) at Fabrica, Bula.
The DA secretary lauded Governor LRay Villafuerte for his continuing support to mariculture. Governor Villafuerte initiated the establishment of the newly inaugurated fishery facilities at RFFC, Bula, which transformed it from a mere production-based aquaculture service center into a one-stop shop of freshwater fisheries technologies serving the needs of fishermen and commercial fish producers in the Bicol region.
At the RFFC inauguration, Alcala said that the convergence happening here in Bicol particularly in the province of CamSur could translate into much improved fishery sector, hence there is no reason for the province not to prosper.
During the gathering at the Convention Center, the DA secretary disclosed that under DA’s Agri-Pinoy program, the goal is to attain rice sufficiency by year 2013.
This could be achieved, he said with the rehabilitation and repair of irrigation systems and setting up of modern seed banks where farmers could secure high quality palay and corn seeds. CamSur is expected to play a lead role in this thrust being one of the biggest rice producing provinces in the nation
He disclosed that 70 percent of the rice farmers still utilize ordinary seeds in their farmlands while less than 30 per cent of them use certified seeds. The DA Secretary expects that more farmers will be using certified seeds by the second year of the program, and hopes that on the third year no more farmers will be using ordinary seeds.
Among the luminaries who attended the RFFC inauguration included Congressman Luis R. Villafuerte, the Japanese contingent led by Takehito Sakata, First Secretary, Agriculture, Embassy of Japan and Akio Isomata, Minister of Economic Affairs and other officials from DA and its attached agencies.