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The agriculture regional office is implementing massive projects under the FIELDS program.

FIELDS stands for fertilizers, infrastructure, education, loans, dryers and seeds which the government offers to farmers for them to achieve higher production.

Agriculture regional executive director for Western Visayas Larry Nacionales said the agency will be installing 80 community-based organic fertilizers in Iloilo as part of their massive campaign on the use of organic fertilizer.

Unlike in Negros Occidental where farmers’ awareness on the use of organic fertilizer is high, only about 20 percent of Panay farmers are into organic, Nacionales said.

For infrastructure, he said, P234 million farm-to-market roads (FMRs) have been completed in partnership with local government units (LGUs).

These projects are implemented in far-flung areas expected to hasten the bringing of farm products from the barangays down to the town proper, he said.

Moreover, he said, the agency is set to install some 57 dryers in various farmers’ cooperatives within the year.

An additional 87 dryers are also being bidded out, he said.

He also said the School-on-the-Air (SOA) program of the agency is now trying to develop modules for other commodities and not only for the Palay Check system as part of their education and extension services program.

This year, the (SOA) will focus on high value commercial crops such as coffee and mangoes, he said.

As part of the hunger mitigation program, the agency is continuously providing assistance or subsidy of certified seeds to farmers and vegetable seeds for the "Gulayan ng Masa and Gulayan sa Eskuwelahan."

He said the agency, through the "Gulayan sa Eskuwelahan" project hopes to cover all elementary schools in the region which have communal gardens.

Likewise, Nacionales said, there is a continuing capability trainings for technical persons to further disseminate agriculture-related programs of the government.

As part of the Arroyo administration’s flagship program, he expressed optimism for a more intensified implementation of the FIELDS to help the country achieve food security. (PNA)

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