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Thursday, June 1, 2023

DA fosters gardening, assistance programs for food security

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)—Geared towards helping the country in attaining food security in the midst of the coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 contagion, the Department of Agriculture (DA) now drums up its Urban Gardening, Plant, Plant, Plant, Motivating and Attracting Youth in Agriculture (MAYA), and Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA)  programs.

During the Network Briefing with Secretary Andanar, DA Sec. William Dar said the food supply in the country will still last for 200 days. For meat products, he cited that though a deficiency in such supply is projected by the end of the year, chicken products can suffice the protein source as its stocks will last for 200 days. 

Though there is a sufficient supply of the said supplies, Dar said people need to grow their own food so they won’t need to go to markets especially during this quarantine period. 

In Region 10, the field office supports the department’s urban gardening program by continuously distributing assorted vegetable seeds to the agriculture offices of the local government units (LGUs) in the five provinces.

Aside from the LGUs, other agencies such as the Philippine Army aid in boosting the Plant, Plant, Plant Program or the the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Laban sa COVID-19 of DA by committing to develop their existing areas for food production and livelihood for soldiers as they received 175 packs of 5-in-1 Pinakbet seeds from the department.

To further widen the scope of people participation in agriculture, Dar said they also implement the MAYA program that aims to strengthen the role of youth in accelerating overall agricultural growth. 

The youth will serve as on the job trainees (OJTs) “mula Mayo hanggang Disyembre. Magmomonitor sila ng mga proyekto sa kananuyan (from May to December. They will monitor [agricultural] projects in communities),” the secretary added.

At the end of their OJT, the youth who can come up with a business plan will be given capital so they can start a business. 

Furthermore, DA also provides assistance to those who want to translate their business ideas into products through the Business Incubation in Agriculture. 

About P500,000 will be given by the department “para ang ideya nila ay pwede nilang maisakatuparan (so their ideas will be realized),” Dar said.

Aiding the agriculture sector especially the farmers is essential in this time of pandemic, the secretary stressed. Thus, in the region, the  RFFA has already benefited 13,036 rice farmers in Lanao del Norte and Bukidnon who each received P5,000 cash subsidy. 

This is crucial to ensure rice production and rice supply in said provinces and in the entire Region 10 are unhampered amid the COVID-19 crisis, DA-10 OIC-Regional Executive Director Carlene Collado said. 

Noting the continued funding for the said programs, Dar stressed, “Patuloy po ang tulong natin sa mga magsasaka at mangigngisda (We continuously help our farmers and fisher folks).” (RTP/PIA10)

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