Accelerated Agricultural and Fisheries Productivity Program for Sustainable Community Development
Limited financial resources. high unemployment rate, debt- ridden farmers due to outdated farming practices and fisherfolks suffering from very low fish catch- these are the images that haunt Bacarra, a fourth-class municipality in llocos Norte. To address these problems, the local Sanggunian passed a resolution formulating and implementing an integrated strategy towards community development composed of: (1) Accelerated Agriculture and Fisheries through livestock and fingerlings distribution, setting up of seed banks, construction of farm-to-market roads, demo farms, and organic farming; (2) Small and Medium Enterprises through training in dressmaking, bag making, meat processing and candy making; and (3) Social Enterprise through mushroom propagation and production with its own laboratory for seed production and an auction market.
In financing these projects, the municipality coordinated with various national government agencies for financial and technical support. After two years of implementation, success stories followed: unemployment decreased by 15%, cooperatives became stronger, rural improvement clubs emerged and fishermen increased their income. The municipality also generated a surplus or almost 16,500 metric tons in rice production. Fourteen small farm reservoirs, eight units of shallow tube wells and 22 multi-purpose drying pavements were constructed. The bag making and dressmaking became a popular source of additional household income for women and out-of-school youth. In addition a 14% increase in business permit applications was recorded the same year. Backyard industries proliferated and the mushroom laboratory and auction market produced a net income of Php 172,000 in 1998. At present Bacarra is a candidate for a 3rd class municipality classification and has become a Lakbay-Aral site for other LGUs.
This program is recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Programs in the 1999 Galing Pook Awards.