|DA Secretary Proceso Alcala (photo: Sorsogon City-LGU)|
By: Bennie A. Recebido
SORSOGON CITY, Dec. 16 (PIA) – For the first time, organized agri-based cooperatives in Bicol region gathered together during the 1st Coop-NATCCO (National Confederation of Cooperatives) Regional Consultative Meeting held at the Sorsogon Provincial Gymnasium on Dec. 12, 2013.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala graced the occasion and encouraged farmers to try the intercropping scheme being pushed by the national government as a strategy to vastly increase the income of those in the agriculture sector.
It can be recalled that President Benigno Aquino III, in his fourth State of the Nation Address, underscored intercropping as a solution to the very low income of farmers especially those in the coco industry. “It only needs to foster a culture that truly encourages hard work and productivity,” the President said.
Intercropping is the practice of growing more than one crop in the same field, especially in an alternating rows or sections to produce a greater yield on a given piece of land by making use of resources that would otherwise not be utilized by a single crop.
The regional gathering was attended by cooperative members from across the Bicol region composed of farmers, fishermen, irrigators and other agriculture-based members of various associations. Local Chief Executives of Sorsogon and of other Bicol provinces as well as head of agriculture-related government agencies were present and showed support to the said regional affair of the Coop NATCCO.
Secretary Alcala was personally invited by Coop-Natco Partylist Representative Anthony Bravo who also took the lead in order to realize the first regional meeting of members of the Coop-NATCCO in Bicol region.
During the consultation dialogue, Secretary Alcala suggested planting of coffee in their farm yard but the farmer-participants keyed up to venture instead on the production of cacao for their intercropping planting system as they have proven it to be more productive and provides better opportunity for a higher income.
Considering the farmer’s recommendation, Secretary Alcala assured the farmers that the Department of Agriculture will help them by providing the needed planting materials.
He likewise boost confidence of farmers and fishermen saying they have to take pride in what they do because they are the primary providers of foodstuff found on every man’s table.
Meanwhile, Secretary Alcala spearheaded the distribution of farming and fishing implements such as hand tractors, threshers, knapsack sprayer, gill nets and other fishing equipment, including hundred sacks of certified palay seeds. (BARecebido, PIA 5/SORSOGON)