Pangasinan, Aklan farmers get assistance from DAR


The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has turned over P10.58 million worth of support services to farmers in Pangasinan Province last Tuesday.

At the same time, Agrarian Reform Secretary Bernie F. Cruz led a host of DAR officials during an inspection at the P86-million housing project for small farmers in the said province.

Various farm machinery and equipment, with a total cost of P9.119 million, and various farm inputs worth P1.458-million were distributed to 610 agrarian reform beneficiaries belonging to 17 ARB organizations (ARBOs) from the towns of Agno, Aguilar, Alaminos City, Balungao, Bani, Bautista, Bayambang, Dasol,  San Carlos, San Jacinto, Sison, Sta. Barbara, Umingan, Urbiztondo, and  Villasis.

Cruz said apart from land distribution and delivery of agrarian justice, the DAR is also mandated to provide support services to improve living condition of the ARBs.

“These support interventions are part of a continuing activity of the department to boost the livelihood of our ARBs, thus an improvement in their farm income,” he said.

Being the country’s frontliners in providing food security, Cruz said the farmers deserve to be dignified and this, he said could be realized through the government support.

The support services projects include 5 units of 4-WD farm tractors, 2 units of pick up trucks, 5 units of hand tractors, 5 units of engine pumps, 2 units of motorcycles with kolong-kolong, 610 units of knapsack sprayers, and various farm inputs composed of hundreds of bags and sacks of fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, and farm seeds.

Former DAR chief John Castriciones attended the ceremonial turn-over to witness the ARBs receiving the projects.

The support services packages are implemented under the DAR’s Climate Resilient Farm Productivity Support Project (CRFPSP) and Linking Smallholder Farmers to Markets and Microfinance (LinkSFarMM) program.

Prior to the turnover ceremony of the subprojects held in the municipality of San Manuel, the team of DAR also conducted a site inspection in Barangay Carayungan Sur, in the town of Umingan,  where a 26,111 square meter lot for the agency’s housing program for the ARBs is currently on-going.

Dubbed as Balai Farmers and Farmworkers Housing program, the site has a target of 184 housing units. Each unit costs P300,000, with a lot area of 75 sq. m., and is payable within 30 years.

This project is implemented through a partnership with the Department of Human Settlement and Urban Development, National Home Mortgage Finance Corp., Bella Vita, and the local government of Umingan.

Bamboo processing

The DAR also turned over a bamboo handicraft processing center to memers of the Catmon (Aklan) Multi-Purpose Cooperative to boost their bamboo processing business.

The P300,000 center would benefit a total of 159 members consisting of 126 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) and 33 other members.

Gelly H. Navarra, chairperson of the cooperative said the project will be a big boost to their bamboo processing activities.

The Catmon (Aklan) MPC is among the DAR-assisted cooperatives that availed the business development service with support facility under the Village Level Farm Focused Enterprise Development (VLFED).

DAR Western Visayas Regional Director Shiela Enciso said the project covers the rehabilitation of a processing center for bamboo handicrafts, as their main product.

“One of the basic requirements to become a recipient of VLFED project is the availability of raw materials for the product being developed. It is very fortunate for Catmon [Aklan] MPC since barangay Catmon is rich in bamboo plants – the potential source of raw materials for the said enterprise,” Enciso said.

Enciso said the total VLFED project cost amounts to P300,000, with the Aklan provincial local government unit providing a counterpart of P60,000; the LGU of Altavas, P20,000; and the House of Representative, P60,000.

“The VLFED project aims to enhance the products of farmers through the provision of appropriate facilities and equipment,” Enciso said.

With the completion of the construction of the processing center, she said the cooperative members can now work together with a common goal of helping and making their endeavor beneficial not only to the officers and members of the cooperative but also to the whole community of Aklan.

“It is expected to boost the income of the cooperative since this will become as an additional livelihood for its members, as they simultaneously engage in other farming activities such as vegetable, ginger, and coconut production. The project also offers job opportunities to other household members who possess skills in bamboo handicraft making,” she said.

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