ALPAS COVID assistance to farmers gain acceptance
BORONGAN CITY, June 24 (PIA) – The Ahon Lahat, Pagkain Sapat Kontra sa COVID-19 or ALPAS COVID-19 ushered by the Department of Agriculture 8 (DA-8) and the Eastern Samar Provincial Agricultural Services (OPAS) is gaining enormous acceptance from E. Samar farmers.
On Tuesday, the team of DA-8 Agriculture Program Coordinating Officer Grace Palconit and OPAS Chief Virgilio Capon fast-tracked the distribution of high quality palay seeds, fertilizers, vegetable seeds and fishing equipment to the farmers and fisherfolks of Can-Avid, Arteche and Jipapad, all in Eastern Samar.
“We are not sure when this pandemic threat will stay, so we have to plant, plant, plant and ensure that we get the maximum yield,” said OPAS chief Virgilio Capon in his message to the farmers.
For her part, Grace Palconit urged the farmers to work harder because when they get better harvest, they get better income.
As the team brought in high quality palay seeds, the discussion focused on the rice sufficiency project of the government.
Capon said that with the pandemic, all nations, all provinces are securing their own that the people cannot rely on their trading partners anymore.
“Diri na hira mapapalit,” (They won’t sell anymore) he said.
So he continued by saying that the farmers have only to rely on themselves to produce more rice to fill in the needed food supply.
He said the province spends as much as P820-M a year to procure rice as rice sufficiency is only 65 percent.
With the 22 thousand hectares of rice fields in the province, he added that if the maximum rice yield of just 80 bags per hectare or an average of 4 mt/hectare will be realized, then the province will be rice sufficient.
Capon repeated his challenge to the three towns he went to.
He urged them to prepare their lands, put on earth ridges (or pilapil to trap rains), use fertilizers, take care of their plants well and insure their crops with the Philippine Crop Insurance Company (PCIC).
“This is free, sponsored by your local governments, this insures your crops and the farmers, too,” Capon said.
Aside from the high-yielding rice variety and fertilizers, the team also brought vegetable seeds that when planted can provide vegetables to the communities.
In Arteche town, the Arteche Tuna Fishers led by their President Elmar Afable received two units of Payao (also called a fish aggregating device (FAD) and some fishing paraphernalia. Arteche is a coastal town.
In yonder Jipapad, the town at the end of Oras River, the locals were provided with materials for tilapia culture.
Gaudencio Legria of Can-avid town, accepted the challenge to produce 80 bags of rice.
In 1986, he said he was named outstanding farmer as his yield reached 135 bags/hectare.
Of course, he offered that the rice farmer needs to visit his plants daily to check on their growth and so that they can readily detect pests and diseases and be addressed at once.
“Giuupayi na gad ini nga libre it gahi, mayda pa bonus nga fertilizer,” (We are thankful that the palay seeds are free and fertilizers too) said the 70-year-old farmer.
Arnulfo Buenafe of Brgy. Rawis, Arteche, who has farmed since 1971 said, he can produce the 80 bags per hectare challenge.
Another farmer, from Jipapad town, Rufino Oros said he can also produce 80 bags per hectare given the present assistance from the government.
He said he plows his rice land at night so that it is cooler and his carabao does not get tired easily.
These are only some of the more industrious farmers in Eastern Samar who accepted the challenge to produce more to fight the pandemic and emerge victorious in the fight against hunger and COVID-19 with the help from the government. (nbq/PIA 8-Eastern Samar)