Pangasinan farmers benefit from DAR’s response to pandemic
URDANETA CITY, Sept. 22 (PIA) – Some 2,810 farmers and 11 cooperatives have benefitted from the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) responses to the agriculture sector in light of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Ana Maria Francisco, provincial agrarian reform officer for Pangasinan, said DAR was quick to formulate an action plan to safeguard farmers who, by the nature of their work and trade, are directly affected by the impacts of stringent health protocols and border-to-border lockdowns.
“Our farmers are not assigned at the front row in the fight against COVID-19 but they have been working day in and day out to provide food for our tables despite the risks posed by the pandemic and DAR is here to help them,” Francisco told the Philippine information Agency.
In a span of three months, DAR-Pangasinan identified and provided assistance to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) that qualified under the project dubbed as “The PASSOver: ARBold Move for Deliverance of our ARBs from the COVID-19 Pandemic (ARBold Move).”
Meanwhile, DAR-Pangasinan Information Officer Florida La Fuente said the ARBold Move program was divided into four phases.
Under Component I, some 11 groups of farmers or Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Organizations (ARBOs) with at least 15 farmer-members were given marketing assistance and coaching that enabled them not just to sell their produce at a higher price but also to attract more buyers.
Components II and III involved the distribution of farming starter kits and livestock where 902 ARBs benefited from farm-ready seedlings and various types of fertilizers.
On the other hand, 15 women-ARBs received 45 live goats for breeding.
Both components aim to provide farmer-beneficiaries a source of extra income during the pandemic.
For Component IV, DAR-Pangasinan distributed supplemental and non-supplemental food packages for ARBs and their families.
“Alongside the food packs were vitamins, anti-bacterial soap, and washable face masks that helped at least 1,893 ARBs,” she explained. (JCR/AMB/VHS/PIA Pangasinan with reports from DAR)