CABANGAN, Camalig, Albay— “An masalbar sa satong ekonomiya, agrikultura man sana!”

This was the resounding message of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Bicol Regional Technical Director for Operations and Extension Luz R. Marcelino  to various representatives of farmers’  associations, cooperatives, 4-H Clubs, Philippine Army and the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) during the Distribution Agricultural Interventions which included production inputs, farm machineries and equipment on September 16, 2020 at the Albay Farmers Bounty Village here.

DA-Bicol Field Operations Division OIC-Chief  Dr. Marygrace P. Rodriguez also underscored that despite problems brought about by COVID19 pandemic, the agriculture sector posted a 0.5% growth in the second quarter this year because of the sustained hard work of farmers. The pandemic poses some serious challenges but the positive growth showed that “ang initiative ninyo na sinusuportahan ng DA ay nagpapakita na patuloy nating itinatawid ang agrikultura.”

Albay Provincial Agriculturist Che Rebeta said that this intervention will further boost the agricultural sector in the province because this will support the various local projects of the provincial government like the Albay Family-Based Food Production Program (AFBFPP); and the Albay Family-Based Food Garden (AFBFG) program.

From the Rice Program, a total of 4,509 bags of Hybrid Palay Seeds intended for individual farmers for planting for the Dry Season amounting to over Php 22.5 million  were turned over  to the 18 LGUs through their representatives.

From the  High Value Crops Development Program assorted vegetable seeds, Pili grafted seedlings, knapsack sprayers, plastic crates, fermentation boxes, plant growth enhancer, mungbean, power sprayers, wheelbarrows, garden tools and seedlings amounting  to over Php1,5 million  were turned over the provincial government , municipal /City LGUs, farmer’s associations, cooperatives and TESDA.

Jason Balastra, president of Sta. Misericordia Vegetable Farmers’ Association, said that with these DA’s support, “mas magian an paghampang kan sakuyang pagiriba sa asosasyon sa presenting panahon na may pandemya.” Their 34-member association received assorted vegetable seeds.

Both 4H-Club Presidents Christopher Nocos (Jovellar) and Allan Ballares (Buhatan, Sto.Domingo) (who) were excited to receive for the first time, garden tools and vegetable seeds from the regional office. They look forward to more assistance from DA-Bicol through trainings and livestock  and  or small ruminants especially goat for their  members. 

From the Corn and Cassava Program, six farmers associations from Polangui, Libon, Oas, Ligao City and Tabaco City received conventional hybrid corn seeds, 4 WD Corn Tractor, mobile recirculating batch type dryer with generator set, moisture meter, vacuum pack sealer, corn husk sheller, corn mills and open source pumping set which amounted to over  Php 8 million.

From  the Livestock and Poultry Program, the assistance was from Typhoon Tisoy Rehabilitation fund. The LGUs of Tabaco, Daraga, Camalig, Oas, Polangui, Ligao City, Jovellar, Guinobatan and Libon received cara-heifers, heifer and mallard ducks which amounted to Php1,925,000.00. Young farmer Rose Inopia  from Cmalig was one of the recipients.

Rebeta added that these interventions will encourage the Albayano farmers to continuously provide food for every household and contribute to food security and sufficiency especially in the province. “The DA is here to  bring hope in these trying times in Albay,” Marcelino concluded. (jaysonmgonzales)