New farm roads in Ifugao seen to boost heirloom rice production

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Implemented under the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Project (DA PRDP), three farm-to-market roads (FMR) are now being constructed to aid heirloom rice production areas in Ifugao province.

With an end goal of boosting the heirloom rice industry and providing market access to farmers in the top-producing municipalities of Ifugao, the construction of Anaba-Ducligan-Banao FMR, the improvement of Viewpoint-San Fernando FMR, and the improvement of Junction-Alimit-Nattum FMR jumpstarted in the early months of this quarter.

Located in Banaue, the 8-kilometer Anaba-Ducligan-Banao FMR is the first road opening subproject in the Cordillera Administrative Region funded and implemented under the PRDP with a project cost of P245.64 million. It is expected to benefit around 275 households with 1,255 population. The road project will connect three barangays – Anaba, Ducligan, and Banao, to the market centers within and outside the municipality. As part of the road’s program of works, a 20-meter bridge will also be constructed in barangay Anaba.

Benefiting around 362 households with 1,841 population, the Viewpoint-San Fernando FMR in Banaue is a road improvement with a length of 4.8 kilometers. It has a project cost of P124.81 million. A portion of the road, however, of more than three kilometers, is also a new construction that will connect barangay San Fernando and barangay Viewpoint. The improvement of this road will also bring rice farmers of barangay Lubu-ong in Hungduan municipality closer to market areas.

Engr. Anthony Gayumma of the Banaue municipal government said the construction of these roads are seen not only to help farmers in bringing their products to the market, but also to revive abandoned rice terraces in the municipality.

“There are a lot of abandoned rice terraces in these areas and with the construction of these roads, people will surely come back to till their lands and make it productive again,” he said.

On the other hand, the improvement of the 4.9-kilometer Junction-Alimit-Nattum FMR in the municipality of Mayoyao has a project cost of P140.53 million benefiting around 296 households with 1,816 population. The NOL2 was issued earlier than the two mentioned subprojects.

Summarizing all parameters (production data and no. of households engaged in heirloom rice production) including the proportion of households with income below poverty threshold, Banaue ranked first in the expanded vulnerability and suitability assessment (eVSA) on heirloom rice production among all municipalities in the province followed by Hungduan and Mayoyao.

From the term itself, FMRs connect rural agricultural areas to market towns. The PRDP, of which the DA is the main holder, has invested over two billion worth of infrastructure subprojects in the Cordillera provinces to date. More than 81 percent of the total fund share consists of 13 FMR subprojects in support to the champion commodities of the region, and counting. ELVY S. TAQUIO

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