ILOILO — The effective use of machinery to improve agricultural productivity will ensure, among others, food security, including rice sufficiency, among 36,881 people living in Concepcion.
This is the foreseen impact of the 26 hand tractors and 13 rice threshers that the town recently received from the Italian Development Cooperation, through ActionAid and Balay Minadaw.
“Our people are thankful of Italy’s generosity. Through it, our town can attain food security in the future,” stressed Mayor Milliard Villanueva in an interview with the press.
He added that the machines can increase the productivity of farmers, minimize their post-harvest losses and generate more income to alleviate their families from poverty.
Concepcion has an average annual income of P35-million or more but less than P45-million making it a third class municipality in 5th district of Iloilo.
Most or around 80-90 percent of its population relied on fishing and the rest were into farming as their means of livelihood.
So when Yolanda wreaked havoc here, more than anything else, the people of Concepcion clamored to restore their livelihood first, recalled Provincial Administrator Raul Banias.
Thereafter, Governor Arthur Defensor Sr., with the help of One Meal Group, launched an Adopt-a-Fisherman Program, wherein P200-million were raised to build 2,000 new motorboats.
He then availed of this P28-million humanitarian aid through Italian Ambassador Massimo Roscigno to restore the livelihood of farmers in Concepcion, Carles, Estancia, San Dionisio and Batad.
The post-Yolanda aid covers the procurement of 130 hand tractors and 65 rice threshers for 1,500 direct beneficiaries and over 19,000 indirect beneficiaries in the aforementioned towns.
ActionAid Italy’s Head for High Value Partnerships Unit, Marketing and Fundraising Daniele Lodola pointed out that the aid was a “sign of goodwill and fulfillment of our promises to the community.”
Concepcion was the first to receive the machines last October 28. Benefiting from the aid were Macalbang Farmers Association, Tambaliza Farmers Association, Tamis-ac Farmer’s Association, Talotoan Farmers and Fisherfolk’s Association and Sitio Looc Bukid Farmer’s Association.
The other towns will receive their respective rice threshers and hand tractors next month, according to Italian Cooperation Project Focal Person Engr. Maritess Puspus of Balay Mindanaw.
To make sure that the machines are used for its intended purpose, a monitoring system has been established.
Trainings covering competencies on the repair and maintenance of the machines, sustainable agriculture and disaster risk reduction and management will also be provided. JAN