SAN AGUSTIN, PILI, CAMARINES SUR – In celebration of the annual Farmers and Fisherfolk’s month this month of May, the Department of Agriculture Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) spearheaded a two-day Farmers’ Festival or Agri Trade Fair at the DA Bicol grounds here on May 15-16, 2017.
A total of 45 exhibitors brought in their agricultural and handicraft products which garnered a total sales of P546,392.00. Most of the exhibitors came from the Provincial, Municipal and Barangay Food Terminals, Irrigators Associations, Organic Farmers Associations from the provinces of Masbate, Sorsogon, Albay, Camarines Norte and Camarines. Organic farmers associations include the GAPPA, TAPFPAT, CAANDUYOG, Pecuaria Development Coop; and the Pensumil Sugar Planters Association and other entrepreneur. The DA funded Agripinoy Trading Center based in Vinzons, Camarines Norte also displayed its products. JL Trading displayed its combine harvester while rice seed companies such as SL Agritech and FMC exhibited their best hybrid rice varieties while GRJC displayed its agro industrial machineries.
“More farmers and associations participated this year compared to last year,” said Adelina A. Losa, chief of the AMAD.
Dr. Elena B. de los Santos, DA Bicol Regional Executive Director said the farmers festival has already been institutionalized as one of the major activities of the DA to showcase tradeable products, foster market linkages, and gain broader perspective and insights on how to further improve the farmers products to help them increase their income.
One avid participant of the Farmers Festival was Jose Yaneza. He proudly showed his gray hair as silent testimony of his seven years of participation in the tiangge at DA, when Director Ellen asked the audience who is the oldest among participants. He is the caretaker of their Barangay Food Terminal in Talobatib, Labo, Camarines Norte, being the Barangay Agricultural and Fishery Council chairperson and chairperson of Municipal Farming and Fishery Council of Labo.
A new exhibitor was the Kabihug Crafts. Owned by Glenn Jimenez, the Kabihug Crafts sells handcrafted jars and bags made from nito. The raw materials are being supplied by the Kabihug indigenous tribe in Labo, Camarines Norte.
Meanwhile, another farmer, Damian Lagdaan, proved that age does not matter for a farmer like him, as he danced with the veteran singer Eva Barrameda of Sorsogon during her lively rendition of “Rolling” in the opening program. Damian, president of Guibasan Irrigators Association in Camarines Norte has 212 members tilling 471 hectares of rice areas in five barangays of Labo.
Alfredo R. Rillo, RAFC Bicol Chairperson designated as Farmer Director of DA Bicol for the month of May underscored the resiliency of the farmers. He said the festival is a thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest received by the farmers despite the calamities such as the typhoon Nina in December. The festival also shows the other side of a farmer who is versatile and can adapt to any sitation. “Pag pinabayle mo, mabayle. Wika nga, kalabaw lang ang tumatanda.”
Products displayed during the festival include fruits and vegetables, root crops, seedlings of budded and grafted plants.
The farmers were also treated with give aways such as planting materials and seeds during the two day fair. A training on vegetable processing was conducted by the DA Food Laboratory at the Regional Technology Commercialization Center (RTCC).
Also present during the opening program were Albay Provincial Agriculturist Cheryl Rebeta; Camarines Sur Civil Service Provincial Director Jocelyn Marifosque; DA Bicol Regional Technical Director (RTD) for Research and Regulations Edgar R. Madrid and OIC RTD for Operations Rodel P. Tornilla. (Lovella P. Guarin)