Ranking officials of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently lauded the implementation of livelihood enhancement and emergency livelihood assistance projects in Mindanao.
USDA Agriculture Counselor Philip Shull headed a contingent that visited four Livelihood Enhancement for Agricultural Development (LEAD) projects and one Support to Emergency Livelihood Assistance Project (SELAP) funded by the US PL 480 program in Misamis Oriental and Davao.
US Public Law 480, the original name of the Food for Peace Act (FPA), has three titles, and each title has a specific objective and provides assistance to countries at a particular level of economic development. Title I is administered by USDA, and Titles II and III are administered by USAID.
The Philippines, which is a recipient under Title I or Trade and Development Assistance, is entitled to government-to-government sales of U.S. agricultural commodities to developing countries on credit or grant terms.
Agreements under the Title I credit program may provide for repayment terms of up to 30 years with a grace period of up to 5 years. Depending on the agreement, commodities provided under the program may be sold in the recipient country and the proceeds used to support agricultural, economic, or infrastructure development projects.
Counselor Shull and his team, composed of Ms. Echo Domingues, Washington-based analyst of the US Food for Progress Program; Bill Verzani, USDA Agri Attaché to the Philippines, and Mr. Perfecto Corpuz and Ms. Pia Ang of the USDA office in Manila.
Verzani, Corpuz, and Ms. Domingues visited two goat-raising projects of the Mauswagon and Sinai Rural Improvement Clubs in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental. During the visit, Ms. Domingues noted the projects’ impact on the community and wished that other Americans could see the fruits of their contribution to these far-flung areas and how these benefit and empower women in Mindanao.
Counselor Shull, meanwhile visited three projects in Region XI comprising of lemon nips propagation in Asuncion, Davao del Norte, the Nabunturan Farmers Training Center in Compostela Valley, and the Training Center project under the SELAP in Malalag, Davao Del Sur.
At Malalag, Counselor Shull showed interest upon learning that there are some 4,000 hectares presently planted to mangoes in the area, saying the USDA is working with the DA here on a project to export Philippine mangoes to their country.
Former Mayor Macario Humol, now executive assistant of Gov. Arturo Uy, thanked the US Government for their assistance to Philippine agriculture. They added that the local government was able to put up four new classrooms in one of the public schools in their municipality using assistance from the program.
The visits were coordinated by the National Agricultural and Fishery Council (NAFC) under OIC Executive Director Noel A. Juliano, the DA regional directors, and the regional, provincial and municipal fishery councils. DA Information Service