After decades of trudging muddy roads amidst sugarcane farmlands in Negros Occidental to deliver their goods in the market, farmers in Negros Occidental can now expect a sweeter life once two farm-market-roads in the province are completed.
Mr. Danilo Ducay, a 59-year old farmer from Sitio Vergara, Toboso narrated that it is difficult to bring in fertilizers in the farms because of the uneven and narrow dirt road that turns muddy during the rainy season.
“With the construction of the FMR, we are anticipating better incomes because we can now deliver our goods at a cheaper price,” Mr. Ducay said in Bisaya.
He is just among the thousand farmer-residents in the municipal to benefit from the construction of two new roads that were signalled by the Department of Agriculture (DA) Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) for construction, extending 4.2 kilometers (km) and 12.46 km in Toboso and Cadiz City respectively.
DA Undersecretary and PRDP Project Director Emerson Palad and Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. led the ground-breaking ceremony for the rehabilitation of Sitio Magtu-od and Sitio Vergara FMR, in Toboso and Barangay Caduhaan to Sitio Aluyan FMR in Cadiz City last May 26, 2015.
The two FMRs worth over P181.99 million are the first sub-projects approved under the DA-implemented rural development project in Visayas. The construction of these FMRs is expected to directly benefit 2,992 households in the area.
Palad stressed that the FMRs will have a multiplier effects among the farmer-beneficiaries around the service area.
“Various business opportunities will come along the way with the construction of these FMRs, which are 11 inches thick to accommodate big trucks that bring out harvested sugarcane,” explained Palad.
He added that farmer-beneficiaries should feel a sense of ownership and cooperate to maintain the quality of the project.
“I am appealing to the local officials especially to the barangay to pass an ordinance requiring load limits in the utilization of these FMRs to preserve and maximize its utilization,” he continued.
Governor Marañon expressed his gratitude for the Aquino administration for extending such project that is beneficial to the local farmers.
He encouraged the farmers to plant various commodities, diversify their respective areas and not only rely on sugarcane production.
“You can plant cacao and other high value crops which are really suited for our soils.” Marañon added.
Aside from farmers, even school children can benefit from these roads as testified by Sitio Vergara Elementary School Head Ms. Liezel Dalin.
She is optimistic that with the construction of Sitio Magtu-od and Sitio Vergara FMR travel time will be shortened from one and a half hour to 40 minutes from the town proper.
“During rainy days, students cannot go to school because the road gets flooded and muddy and makes it dangerous for them to attend classes. But we are expecting that students can now attend classes even during rainy days as vehicles will be able to pass the road.”
The FMRs are part of the I-BUILD component under the PRDP that aims to improve agriculture production and marketing through establishment of strategic infrastructure support.
Through PRDP, the DA will provide 90% equity to the project, while the Local Government will only need to provide 10% of the project cost.
DA-PRDP is a six-year national project that aims to establish a modern, inclusive, value-chain oriented, and climate resilient agriculture and fisheries sector. It is implemented through the partnership of the DA, World Bank and Local Government Units. (James Earl Ogatis, Cath Nanta-Department of Agriculture)
Posted By: Lynne Pingoy