DA salutes outstanding farmers, fisherfolk amid COVID-19 crisis
TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan, May 28 (PIA) – The role of farmers and fisherfolk in food security in the midst of the pandemic was recognized in the recent Farmers and Fisherfolk Month celebration here.
The usual yearly event was a day for farmers and fisherfolk to wear their Filipiniana and barong attire as they come up on stage to receive their plaques and cash award but this year, the event’s place were graced by the awardees and few selected individuals in the agriculture sector if only to observe COVID-19 protocols like social distancing.
Regional Executive Director Narciso Edillo of the Department of Agriculture here said farmers and fisherfolk are the frontliners in agriculture as they keep everyone alive while in the midst of crisis.
Edillo, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Regional Director Milagros Morales, Rep. Joseph Lara being the guest of honor and keynote speaker, as well as other officials and leaders in the agriculture and fisheries sector offered a salute to these farmers and fisherfolk.
Dionisio Tamayao of Dangan, Reina Mercedes, Isabela, a farmer tilling 8-hectare rice field was awarded Rice Highest Yielder for the Dry Season 2019-2020 after harvesting 13.3 tons or 260 cavans per hectare or an equivalent of P132,215 per hectare or an equivalent of around P1 million net income.
Five other farmers namely Armando M. de los Santos of Angadanan, Isabela; Arnel Santiago of San Mateo, Isabela; Rodolfo Rocena and Claudio Rodriguez both from Pamplona, Cagayan; Julcardo Bangalisan of Palanan, Isabela and the Sto. Domingo Rural Improvement Club of Alicia, Isabela were recipients of the Gawad Saka award, a recognition granted to farmers and fisherfolk with exemplary contribution in food security, food safety and job generation as well as for their innovations that has helped fellow farmers and fisherfolk.
Fisherfolk Arnel Santiago operates his grow-out pond and hatchery and has provided technical assisatce to fisherfolks who are newbies in fishculture. He is also providing free fingerlings to backyard fishpond owners and whose ponds and hatchery served as demo-project to newbies.
While the Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita has been a program of the DA before the pandemic, this program played vital role during the CoViD – 19 crisis as said food terminals and stalls helped in providing accessible and affordable agriculture products to the community especially during the enhanced and General Community Quarantine period.
Eleven Kadiwa stalls mostly managed by farmers/fisherfolks’ cooperatives was recognized as they served as instruments in marketing the produce of small farmers and fisherfolk thereby saving small farmers from worries of transportation, losses/spoilage, and others.
The Pasiguit Fisherfolk Association of Sta. Ana, Cagayan, was recognized under the Kadiwa Ani at Kita because of being the highest earner among fsiherfolk associations in the region during the conduct of the BFAR Seafoods Kadiwa for the month of May. The seafoods Kadiwa, according to Morales has helped small fisherfolk market their catch bringing it from the coastal towns to Tuguegarao City where BFAR provided the mobility as well as marketing support as way of helping the association. They also received P10,000 cash assistance for the association.
Asdie from certificate of recognition, the awardees also received cash, planting materials, weighing scales and seeds.
Edillo said the awardees played role in the region’s food security ensuring that food is always available The director is optimistic tha the selflessness of the farmers and fisherfolks will sustain the Cagayan Valley good performance in food sufficiency.
While all farmers and fisherfolks are heroes, three multi-purpose cooperatives namely Mallig FST MPC of Mallig, Isabela; Nararagan Valley MPC of Ballesteros, Cagayan and Esperanza MPC of Aurora, Isabela were awarded P10 million check as beenficiaries of the Expanded Survival and Recovery Aid (SURE-Aid) loan program.
Under the SURE – aid, marginal farmers and fisherfolk can avail of loan assistance of up to P25,000 with zero interest, no collateral and payable in 10 tears while micto, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) can also avail of up to P10M load with zero interest and payable in five years.
Cong. Lara,also the Vice Chair, House Committee on Agriculture and Food in his message assured the agriculture sector of his support in the development of agriculture and fisheries sector in the region. (GVB)