The Department of Agrarian Reform is providing 12 agrarian reform beneficiary groups in Negros Occidental P46,200,000 in support assistance as it steps up efforts to ensure that their sugar lands remain productive and viable.
The DAR, along with the Sugar Regulatory Administration, is encouraging agrarian reform beneficiaries to engage in block farming to lower their production costs to survive beyond 2015 when tariffs on imported sugar are lifted, DAR Undersecretary for Support Services, Jerry Pacturan, told the DAILY STAR yesterday.
Pacturan, who was in Bacolod City, said the 12 ARB groups in the province will be provided a tractor each that costs P2.85 million or a total of P34,200,000 for farm mechanization, and P1 million each, or a total of P12 million for capacity development for enterprise organization.
The DAR will pay for 85 percent of the costs of tractors while the ARBs will have to come up with the remaining 15 percent as a counterpart, which does not have to be necessarily in cash, to improve its operations, he said.
“The tractor is a grant from government and a business asset that they can use for their productivity improvement and for building their organization,” he said.
This is on top of P1 billion at the LandBank of the Philippines available to ARBs for production loans, Pacturan said.
Each ARB group is composed of 50 or more members covering more than 50 hectares, he said.
The DAR is providing a package of support services to ARBs to ensure that they survive immediately after they are awarded, their share of the land, he said.*CPG