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P15 million is given to Ilocos Norte farmers.

With the release of agricultural inputs to increase their productivity, organized farmer associations in various areas of Ilocos Norte have gotten one of the biggest pieces of the pie this year.

Farmers in this region have already received PHP15,369,958 in assistance this week, according to Luz Ortal, director of the Sustainable Development Center, on Saturday. This funding comes primarily from the Ilocos Norte government’s portion of the tobacco excise tax.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency on Saturday, Agnes Asuncion, a farmer, and businesswoman from Barangay Pias in Currimao, Ilocos Norte, expressed her excitement to try the new grass cutter that had been given to them as active members of the Ilocos Norte Dragon Fruit Association.

Asuncion reported that during the 10th batch of agricultural inputs distribution at the Provincial Agriculture Office on Friday afternoon, farmers were also given hundreds of organic fertilizers and insecticides to improve their harvest in addition to a grass cutter to help them clean their farms instead of using a traditional bolo or “tabas,” which takes more time.

Asuncion was one of the province’s many dragon fruit farmers who personally asked the Ilocos Norte government for assistance in July to help them control an expanding pest infestation in their plantations.

According to Mildred Dacuycuy, operations manager of the Refmad dragon fruit farm in Barangay Paayas in Burgos, “Our dragon fruit plants were attacked by anthracnose and canker, which affected our harvest this year.”

One of the main diseases affecting dragon fruit plants is anthracnose, which is brought on by a number of Colletotrichum species and damages the stems, flowers, and fruits. Dragon fruit canker, which is brought on by the fungus Neoscytalidium dimidiatum, weakens and kills the plant’s branches.

Dacuycuy and other dragon fruit growers anticipate a better crop in 2019 with the support of the provincial government.

Similar assistance was given to corn and mango farmers in the province to increase harvests.

Farmers and fishermen can call 0916-4419914 or 0969-2905489, send an email to agrikadito.in@gmail.com, visit the Provincial Agriculture Office in Barangay 2 here or the Sustainable Development Center at the provincial capital to request crop assistance in the form of inputs, marketing, and transportation; irrigation such as reservoirs, dams, and water impounding systems; and the provision of livestock and related services. The “Agri Ka Dito Hotline” is intended to help

Ilocos Norte has spent about PHP2 billion over the past three years to provide all-out support, including land preparation, crop production, marketing, and farm mechanization, including irrigation support, as agriculture continues to be the foundation of the local economy.

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