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‘PPP program’ promotes rice-duck farming in Zamboanga del Sur

Close to 3,000 ducks were recently distributed to rice farmers in the municipality of Bayog as part of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Program between the provincial government of Zamboanga del Sur and mining firm TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (Tvird).

The program promotes Integrated Rice-Duck Farming System in the province. Zamboanga del Sur Gov. Antonio Cerilles, Bayog Mayor Leonardo Babasa Jr. and Jake Foronda, vice president for operations of program partner TVIRD, led the distribution during simple rites held at Barangay Dipili recently.

Aside from livestock, farmer-beneficiaries of the program were also provided with farm implements, bio-feed and organic fertilizers.

The program aims to support government effort to fight poverty in the countryside. PPP is a scheme implemented by the Aquino administration, tapping both government and private sector expertise, in various development projects nationwide.

The Integrated Rice-Duck Farming System is one of the four major components of the partnership between Zamboanga del Sur and Tvird, which is the provincial government’s first private-sector partner.

In February this year, the company allocated some P5.5 million as counterpart to the P6.1-million appropriation from the Zamboanga del Sur government under the program, which benefited indigenous Subanen farmers in the area.

Some 400 farmer-beneficiaries received financial assistance and farming implements for their farms.

The rice-duck farming system was developed by Dr. Takao Furuno in Japan where rice and ducks are grown together in the rice fields. It is adopted in Bayog—a municipality touted as a major rice granary—through the offices of the governor and provincial agriculturist.

A study made by the Department of Agriculture (DA) showed that growing rice and ducks together in rice fields resulted in higher rice production.  Aside from an improved yield, the system also proved to be environment-friendly and low-maintenance.

Farmers can also benefit as the ducks start laying eggs.  Duck eggs are sold in the market at P7 each.  These are purchased by balut producers in the province and are sold at P15 to P18 each. 

Balut is a boiled duck egg that is sold as a local delicacy across the country while its production is considered a growing industry in Zamboanga del Sur.

Cerilles is discouraging farmers from using chemicals to improve farm profitability and do away with borrowing money from traders and loan sharks. Instead of chemical fertilizers, the ducks’ dung will serve as soil nutrient enhancer.

Foronda, for his part, said that while the company is engaged in mineral production, it continues to foster partnerships with the government to mobilize development programs and projects. 

The company holds the Mineral Processing Sharing Agreement covering the 4,779-hectare Balabag property in Bayog town and is authorized by the government to operate its gold-silver project in the area. 

 

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