Governor V. Dennis M. Socrates’ administration is determined to give more attention to Palawan’s agricultural sector in the upcoming year.
This commitment was articulated during the governor’s 2nd State of the Province Address (SOPA) held on Tuesday, October 3, at the Legislative Building’s Session Hall in the Capitol Compound.
Governor Socrates aims to double the financial support allocated to the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAg), led by Dr. Romeo M. Cabungcal. He oversees the province’s agricultural and fisheries development, with the primary goals of ensuring food security and aiding small-scale farmers and fishermen in Palawan.
Presently, the budget allocated to this office stands at only P44 million, intended for various agricultural initiatives and programs.
“In the realm of agriculture and fisheries: For the current year, Budget Year 2023, we have directed slightly over 44 million pesos towards advancing agriculture in our province. Therefore, for 2024, we plan to increase this allocation, even if it means doubling it,” said Governor Socrates.
The increased funding for Palawan’s agriculture sector holds immense importance for the province’s farmers and fishermen. It is expected to have several significant impacts on the community:
Governor Socrates’ commitment to bolstering agriculture funding is important because it directly addresses critical issues faced by Palaweño farmers and fishermen.
The increased budget will provide vital support to small-scale farmers and fishermen, who have historically faced financial constraints, improved resources, training, and access to markets, empowering them to enhance their livelihoods and contribute significantly to the local economy.
One of the initiatives that Governor Socrates’ administration will promote is the establishment of Rural Agricultural Centers (RAC) across different parts of the province. These centers will serve as knowledge hubs for farming and fishing practices, courtesy of the Provincial Government.
“Within our list of priorities, under the leadership of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, is the refurbishment and construction of new Rural Agricultural Centers. These centers will also host educational and training activities, the improvement of marine production through the Fish Catch and Aquaculture Enhancement Program, and enhancements to various other agricultural facilities,” Governor Socrates said.
Furthermore, according to him, by channeling more resources into agriculture, Palawan will fortify its capacity to produce a reliable and abundant food supply.