P20-M Agro-Fishery Lab Center To Rise In NegOcc

A PHP20-million agro-fishery laboratory center under the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) will rise in Negros Occidental this year.

“There is a need for the province to improve its laboratory services especially for agriculture and fishery sector,” OPA chief Japhet Masculino said over the weekend.

Masculino said the construction of a three-story facility is eyed on a Capitol property in Barangay 39 in Bacolod City although an area within the Panaad Park and Stadium in Barangay Mansilingan is also being considered.

Masculino said the laboratory center would benefit the farmers and fisherfolk mainly through protection of agro-fishery resources from pests and diseases as well as the effects of climate change.

“Through the fisheries laboratory, we will be able to detect diseases or problems concerning our marine resources like red tide,” he said.

Through the biocontrol laboratory, the OPA will produce metarhizium anisopliae as a control agent for pests like rice grain bug which infests some farms in the province.

OPA would utilize the soil laboratory to ensure the fertility of the soil through the identification of appropriate measurement in applying fertilizer, Masculino said.

The PHP20-million project is among the projects funded by the PHP96-million development fund of OPA this year.

The allocation has been sourced from the 20 percent development fund of the provincial government for 2018, totaling to almost PHP393 million.

Under the same funding, the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) was also allotted almost PHP40 million worth of development projects aimed to further strengthen the province’s livestock and poultry industry.

The PVO has identified six priority programs and projects including the PHP10-million agro-tourism development project for the Negros First Ranch in Murcia town; PHP7 million for expansion of multiplier farms; and PHP6 million for the implementation of Provincial Animal Genetic Improvement Program.

Other projects include the PHP6-million free-range chicken farm and hatchery development; PHP5-million establishment and operations of artificial insemination centers; and the PHP5-million upgrading and procurement of farm facilities. (PNA)

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