‘Happy Island’ to engage in good sheep production
By Gidoemaly Romero VIRAC, Catanduanes --- Governor Joseph C. Cua has included sheep and goat production among his priority programs so that the province [otherwise known as ‘Happy Island’] can achieve a stronger economy. This was the gist of the provincial governor’s message in a gathering attended by the Catanduanes Goat and Sheep Raisers Association (CAGSRA) here last week. “Goat as well as sheep production is a dormant treasure of our island, only waiting for the right time to come out,” the chief executive remarked. He added that with cheaper maintenance, goat and sheep propagation guarantees multi-purpose livestock production such as meat, milk, fiber and manure that will further result to employment and livelihood and stability for the people in the province. In his message during the two-day training for Goat Production and Management and Forage and Pasture Development conducted by Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), Regional Training Center-5 in partnership with the Provincial Government through the Provincial Veterinary Office at Rakdell Inn in Virac last Nov. 14-15, Cua said that the training is a breakthrough in the field of agricultural production. Assuring the raisers of his support, the governor committed whatever he can share to the association to further its development. Provincial Veterinary Officer, Dr. Jane Rubio said that goat production in Catanduanes is very low with about 1,200 population increasing only to 2.5% each year compared to the previous periods that reached to almost 7,000, but now with the joint effort of ATI and the Provincial Government it is beginning to be addressed. The said training is under the TIER 2 program of ATI for the identified 22 priority provinces in the country which aims to increase agricultural productivity towards food security and poverty alleviation. Meanwhile, CAGSRA which was organized in February this year by the Provincial Veterinary Office was the first livestock association chosen to be the beneficiary of the training and the after training support to also serve as the partner of ATI, Department of Agriculture and the Provincial Government in enriching the goat industry in Catanduanes. Training Specialist III of ATI, Mr. Cirlo Nuyles assured that the beneficiaries will be provided with livestock sources after the training, although there are still arrangements for the procurement of the supply. As the link of CAGSRA to avail of the program implemented by ATI, PVET will be the one to identify the breed or stocks of goat that will be provided to its members. In behalf of ATI, Mr. Nuyles hopes that the agricultural undertaking would be of great help to the association and in the province as a whole. Earlier, in her opening remarks, Provincial Veterinarian Officer Rubio thanked ATI for sponsoring the training together with the after training support. “Sana po after this training, mainternalize ta po, yung management aspect of goat production para po mapaasenso at madagdagan po ang kita nindo,” she added. On the other hand, with the assistance of municipalities, ATI was able to determine and provide the needs of priority communities in the province in terms of agriculture according to Mr. Nuyles. “So lahat ng mga munisipyo dito ay nagtraining na sa amin at na-identify na namin ang mga pangangailangan nila,” he highlighted adding that other municipalities focused on rice production, swine production and vegetable production. Abaca farmers’ incentives Meanwhile, 238 abaca farmers from Brgy. Dugui-Too received early this month cash incentives from the provincial government through the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAg) in partnership with the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA). From the P1.2 Million allocated by the Provincial Government for the project, P512,667 was spent to the Abaca Disease Eradication Project while the remaining P687,333 went to the abaca farmers of Barangay Dugui-Too and Dugui-Wala as cash incentives. 72 farmers from Dugui-Wala were not able to come to the awarding due to recalcitrant weather. OIC Provincial Agriculturist Nelia Teves said that the recipients will receive varied amount of cash incentives depending on the number of abaca sucker planted. One abaca sucker costs three pesos. Dugui-Too Punong Barangay Leo Teleb expressed gratitude for granting the abaca farmers the opportunity to receive cash incentives under the program. He said the rehabilitation of their abaca fibers is just on time as they are now starting to plant again after the previous super typhoon rendered damage on their plantation. Florida Vargas, a recipient from Dugui Too, explained that this project serves as an aid to recover their abacas which is their livelihood and main source of income. “Naomok man po kami ta maski papano kahalayo mi baga sa Dugui, nakabali kami sa programang ini nin PhilFIDA buda OPAG”, said Lily Marquez, a wife of an abaca farmer residing in Dugui Too, here. Governor Cua assured the beneficiaries that the provincial government will continue to support and provide assistance to the abaca industry until they are fully recovered. At present the provincial government is expecting P50M Abaca Rehabilitation Fund approved by the Department of Agriculture which will further aid the abaca farmers in other municipalities.