Gov. Marcos Manotoc lauds COVID-19 “backliners”
“Gusto ko pong magpasalamat sa lahat ng ating magsasaka, mangingisda, mga livestock growers, at mga partners natin sa kooperatiba－ang ating mga COVID-19 “backliners” na tumutulong upang may sapat na pagkain ang bawat pamilyang Ilokano,” Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc expressed during his State of the Province address last January 11.
Ilokano farmers, fisher folks, livestock growers, and personnel of agriculture cooperatives have received praise for ensuring the general public is well taken care of amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly by ensuring food sufficiency in the province.
The agriculture sector has been Gov. Marcos Manotoc’s priority, addressing in the past year the challenge of increasing productivity and profitability through the provision of appropriate infrastructure such as farm to market roads, enhanced irrigation systems, and equipment and agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, soil conditioners, and sprayers.
As one of the powerhouses of agriculture in the country, he likewise looks forward to the operations of an Agriculture and Fisheries Extension System in Ilocos Norte, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“We take pride in being chosen as one of the five pilot provinces in the Philippines to lead extension services in agriculture and fisheries. The Ilocos Norte Agriculture and Fisheries extension system, as it’s known, will strengthen linkages by sharing science-based knowledge and technologies with farming and fishing communities,” Gov. Marcos Manotoc said.
On the other hand, he also highlighted the efforts of the Provincial Government in curbing the African Swine Fever (ASF):
“After being one of the few remaining ASF-free provinces, ASF posed a crisis to our livestock sector. Much like COVID-19, we had to be on the ground immediately to contact trace and stem the infections. We provided relief packs for those who were affected, gave sprayers and disinfectants, facilitated their Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation and DA indemnifications or payouts, allotted almost Php 14 million for those who were uninsured, and provided alternate livelihoods. We are also hopeful that the establishment of an Animal Quarantine Station at the Ilocos Norte–Cagayan Valley boundary will help secure the income of our hog growers.”
His agricultural action points for this year include the shift to high-value crops, full-service assistance from pre-planting to marketing, agri-business and product processing, improving irrigation and soil restoration, and leveling up mechanization and technologies.
For 2022, the Provincial Government allocated Php 1.3 billion for agricultural needs from the Tobacco Excise Tax share of Ilocos Norte.－Edison Justin B. Deus, PGIN-CMO