Monday, 7 April 2008

PGMA orders nationwide adoption of corn-based farming


President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has directed all national government agencies to adopt a nationwide corn-based Farmer-Scientists Research, Development and Extension Training Program (FSTP) in coordination with the local government units “to liberate poor farmers from the bondage of poverty and hunger.”

The order is embodied in E. O. No. 710 which the President signed on Feb. 27, 2008 to attain Philippine development objectives of enhancing the economy’s global competitiveness and alleviating poverty and hunger.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said Executive Order No. 710 has been signed to carry out the administration’s policy of focusing on agriculture as the engine of growth.

He added that the plan is mandated under the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) of 2004-2010 which aims to develop at least 2 million hectares of new agribusiness lands for the creation of at least 2 million jobs.

Under this Order, the Department of Agriculture acts as the lead agency in coordination with the departments of agrarian reform, environment and natural resources, science and technology, interior and local government in the nationwide adoption and implementation of the FSTP.

Ermita said the University of the Philippines in Los Banos, Laguna will facilitate the enhancement of the science and extension curricula of the FSTP upland development program.

The FSTP is an extension program that integrates agricultural research and development, and is designed to enable poor farmers particularly those in the upland areas, to liberate themselves from poverty by growing multiple crops and engaging in livestock and corn farming to increase their income.

The FSTP program was first implemented in Argao, Cebu in 1994 and has been expanded province-wide in Cebu, and also in the towns of Siquijor, Negros Oriental, Leyte, Occidental Mindoro, and Compostela Valley.

It covers all upland areas where most farmers grow corn and other crops for food purposes and yet remain impoverished. Farmers living in the 6th, 5th and 4th class municipalities, particularly the municipalities in the 10 priority provinces under the Hunger Mitigation Program, will be given first priority under the project.

It successfully demonstrates that marginalized farmers can be empowered with scientific knowledge of farming methods to produce more than enough corn for food with a surplus for sale along with their production of vegetables, fruits and livestock.

It has resulted in farmer’s increased income by more than 100 percent, benefiting not only their families but also their communities and local governments.

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