IRIGA CITY. To continuously carry out its mission to secure food for urban families amidst our present situation, the Department of Agriculture Bicol thru the High Value Crop Development Program distributed a total of Php 2,529,186.00 worth of gardening equipment to various Urban Vegetable Growers / Organization from different barangays on March 22 at the Oragon Farm, San Isidro of this City. Said farm which is owned by the Local Government of Iriga City also showcase modern urban gardening technology to inspire urban families to grow their own vegetables.

The provisions include: Community garden package like cultivators, fertilizers, garden tools, assorted vegetable seeds, greenhouses and urban mushroom production package.

During the turn over ceremony, City Mayor Madelaine Alfelor expressed her concern on the misconception on farmers as being poor. “Pag sinabing farmer ang iisipin ng marami, mahirap. Gusto ko, isipin naman na ang farmer ay mayaman” she said. But with the support of the DA and other partner institutions and cooperation of everyone, there is great hope that farmers can really be wealthy she added. She pointed out that the adoption of modern mechanization, digitization and diversification will encourage the youths to replace aging farmers.

Meanwhile, one of the recipients, Marjorie Mabunga of Millenial Farmers Association shared that she was surprised of what was allotted to them. “Hindi namin inaasahan na mabibiyayaan kami ng DA ng ganito kalaking halaga ng mga kagamitan sa gardening tulad ng cultivator, knapsack sprayer, water plastic drums, fertilizer at iba pa.” “Maraming salamat sa mga kinauukulan at ipinapangako namin na aming pagyayamanin at iingatan ang mga kagamitan upang lalong umunlad ang aming samahan para makatulong sa iba at mapalago ang aming garden,” she quipped.

Dr. Mary Grace Rodriguez, chief, Operations Division and HVCDP coordinator represented Regional Executive Director Rodel Tornilla in the MOA signing. Other guest and officials present were: Madelaine Alfelor, City Mayor; Engr. Janice Orciga, OIC, City Agricucltuirist; Edgar Oliva, City HVCDP coordinator, Pedro Oliver, Sr. Agriculturist and focal person on Urban Mushroom Production, and some barangay officials.

Beneficiaries were: Millenial Farmers Association; Greenstar Vegetable Growers Association; San Rafael Vegetable Growers Association. Marilou Lee received the package for Urban Mushroom Production. (B. Nunez; photos; Emil Pasumbal)