PILI, CAMARINES SUR — To recognize the contribution of farmers and fisherfolk as the backbone of the Philippine economy, the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office in Bicol conducted the DA Agrifiesta 2022 on May 16 to 17, 2022, in this municipality. This is in line with the annual Farmers and Fisherfolks’ Month celebration and the Feast Day of St. Isidore, the patron saint of farmers and rural communities.

DA-Bicol Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tornilla and Farmer-Director Bernadette B. De los Santos led the ribbon cutting ceremony for the two-day activity on May 16, 2022. DA Agrifiesta 2022 kicked off with the opening of the agri-trade fair featuring the products of DA-Bicol’s Kadiwa partners and exhibitors consisting of 23 farmer and fisherfolk associations and cooperatives, Agri-Pinay and GREAT Women and beneficiaries, Young Agripreneurs and Young Farmers regionwide. According to Adelina A. Losa, Chief of the DA-Bicol Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD), the two-day Agrifiesta fair generated a total sales worth P510,895.

Among the Agrifiesta exhibitors were the Agri-Preneur Farmer Producers Association, Bakiad Rice and Vegetable Growers Association, Bicol Federation of Dairy Cooperative, and Bikolanas Agriculture Cooperative. Other exhibitors that participated were Buang Farmers Association, Bulawan Sr. Farmer’s Association, Camarines Sur Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Cristo Rey-San Pedro Vegetable Growers’ Association, Danawin Agrarian Reform Cooperative (DARCO), Goa Agri-Producers and Processors Association, and Labo Progressive Multi-Purpose Cooperative. The Agrifiesta fair also showcased products from Lupi High Value Commercial Crops Growers Association, Mauswag Agribusiness Inc., Pecuaria Development Cooperative Inc., Peñafrancia Sugarmill Inc., Polangui Kalamay and Muscovado Producer and Farmers Association, and the Agri-Planters and Food Processors Association of Tigaon (TAPFPAT).

Agripinay beneficiaries Fe Carranza and Marilyn Haya as well as GREAT Women beneficiaries Myrna Peñaflorida and Rebecca Purisima also joined the exhibit. Other featured exhibitors were Hayahay Food Products and J. Farms Spicy Taro Chips of the Young Farmers Challenge and young agripreneurs composed of the Provincial 4H Club of Albay, Municipal 4H Federation of Bacacay, Albay, Municipal 4H of Libon, Albay, Municipal 4H Federation of Malinao, Albay, and Tinawagan 4H Club.

As part of the celebration, Kadiwa Retail Stores offered several promos including Basket All You Can on selected products for only P299 and 10 percent off for meat, fish and fruits on May 16 to 17, 2022.

In his message, Tornilla thanked the farmers and fisherfolk for their resilience amid the series of typhoons that struck the region, the COVID-19 pandemic, and animal diseases such as the African swine fever (ASF), and avian influenza.

“Nagkakakarakan pa kita gustong sabihon an satuyang mga tugang na mga farmers and fisherfolk dae nagpopondo na maglapigot na magkaigwa kita nin kakanon sa satuyang lamesa sa aroaldaw… Kun mayo sinda, magugutom kita,” Tornilla said.

He also encouraged the participants to be grateful for the graces they received and to imitate St. Isidore by being willing to sacrifice one’s convenience to serve the community. Farmer-Director De los Santos, for her part, acknowledged the farmers as the Philippines’ modern-day heroes. She also called for their commitment and perseverance to strive to be the best farmers and fisherfolk for the country.

“Nasa kamay po natin ang kinabukasan ng ating bansa. Wag tayong bibitaw sa ating kagampanang ito,” she said.

Meanwhile, as part of the Farmers and Fisherfolks Month celebration, DA-Bicol, through Regional Mushroom Coordinator Peter Oliver also distributed pure culture and mushroom spawn to three mushroom growers association namely Bicol Entrepreneur Association for Mushroom, St. Francis Mushroom Growers Association, and Omasenso Farmers Mushroom Grower. Likewise, the Livestock Program headed by Dr. Mariz Guillermo distributed 100 heads chicken, two bags of chick booster feeds, and two rolls of range nets to the Calangatnon San Agustin Farmers Association from Pili, Camarines Sur and Cabangal Palsong Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries and Fisherfolk Cooperative from Bula, Camarines Sur

Moreover, the Del Menor Farmers Cooperative from San Jose, Camarines Sur; Danawin Corn Farmers Association, Sinuknipan Cacao Farmers Association, D’P Farmers Palaspas Food Armed in Every Situation, Kinalangan Nagkakaisang Magsasaka from Del Gallego, Camarines Sur; Sipaco Farmers and Fishermen Association from Lagonoy, Camarines Sur; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish from Naga City, and the Marilag Integrated Farmers Organization from Sipocot, Camarines Sur received a total of 155 bags of chick layer feeds.

Furthermore, about 30 farmers from the Municipality of Pili, Camarines Sur attended the seminar on Agricultural Credit Policy Council’s (ACPC) loan programs and MuraMart E-Kadiwa while over 100 farmer-leaders and members of various cooperatives and farmer associations were oriented on the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority’s (FPA) Balanced Fertilization Strategy (BFS) Program as part of the activity.

Pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 33, May was declared as Farmers and Fisherfolks’ Month to recognize the farmers and fisherfolks’ contribution and role in the country’s development. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA RAFIS V with reports from Alden Jesus D. Ragay and Joann S. Velasco, DA AMAD V)

Photo Credits: Eduardo D. Collantes Jr., Hermito Antonio T. Privaldos, Ramon C. Adversario, Vincent Emil A. Pasumbal and Zandra G. Abogado, DA RAFIS V