..MANILA, Philippines --- Twenty-one projects in rainfed areas have secured Php 48.12 million from the Department of Agriculture (DA) as government tries to prop upl a n d f a rme r s and saves them from debilitating drought.
DA's assistance was coursed through the Bur eau o f Agricultural Research (BAR), which supervises the Philippine Rainfed Agriculture Resear c h D e v e l o pme n t and Extension Program (PhiRARDEP).
The program was designed to be location-specific to address pr obl ems that hinder production and reduce the incomes of already marginalized farmers.
Rainfed areas are not reached by national irrigation systems and are thus most vulnerable to drought and other climate change threats.
"Weather i s always an important factor in agricultural productivity. We're facing a different challenge now for which our farmers should be more prepared. We can suffer from serious weather disturbances or rise above these,"said BAR director Nicomedes P. Eleazar.
Eleazar said Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala has backed PhiRARDEP and is seeking bigger appropriations for upland areas.
Initially, the total budget allotted for projects in Luzon uplands was Php 25.67 million, Php 13.77 million for the Visayas and Php 8.68 million for Mindanao.
Among the projects in Luzon are the community watersheds of Cagayan River Basin, upland rice-based organic agriculture in Camarines Sur, pigeonpe a research & development (R&D) in Camarines Sur, aerobic rice production in Bataan and rice-based farming system in Ballesteros, Cagayan.