CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)–Banking on public-private partnership, at least 500 DA-assisted farmers in Miarayon, Talakag, Bukidnon rebounded after struggling with the COVID-19 setbacks.
The farmers who belong to an Indigenous Peoples (IP) community are now expanding their market reach, profitably supplying fresh vegetables produce to the neighboring regions.
“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic our farm products’ prices plunges so our sales drops. Thanks to unwavering support of the Department of Agriculture and our partnership with PITAC MPC, we were able sell our products in other region, for now in Butuan, but we have plan to penetrate Cebu, once our production can cope with the demand,” said Ryan Danio, president of Miarayon Highland Farmers Association.
The Philippine International Travel Assistance Center Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PITAC MPC) is a financing institution based in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.
The cooperative provides agri financing support to Bukidnon farmers.
Through the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Credit Policy Council’s (DA-ACPC) Sure Covid-19 loan, the company ably supports the Miarayon farmers’ financing needs during the pandemic.
“Our engagement with the farmers associations in Talakag started last year, but we provided added support during this crisis. Right now we are helping them to sell their products in a new marketplace” Ricky R. Chamen, PITAC MPC special project manager remarked.
By partnering with PITAC MPC farmers in Talakag were able to sell 25 tons of carrots, cabbage, and potato at a decent price, earning them not less than P400,000 sales in a month.
The Miarayon Highland Farmers Association, Talaandig Farmers Agriculture Cooperative, Pagsabuwahan Ipalambo Sa Organisasyon and Talakag Potato Farmers Association form strategic alliances by consolidating their farm products for bulk selling to PITAC MPC.
With this scheme, the farmers are assured their products will be sold profitably. “Our aim is to help the farmers engage not only in agriculture production but also to diversify into other forms of business ventures suited to their place. We wanted the locals to benefit from the potential of their place” Chamen added.
Chamen disclosed PITAC MPC is presently helping Miarayon Highland Farmers Association to start their water refilling business.
He also shared the possibility of helping the farmers explore agri-tourism in Miarayon in the future. Vegetable farmers in Miarayon are recipients of several agricultural interventions from DA-10.
To boost their vegetable production the farmers are granted projects such as establishment of spring development irrigation system, provision of farm machineries and equipment, draft animals and high quality vegetable seeds.
The farmers are also technically assisted in the production and marketing of their products.
“Through DA-10 Kadiwa on Wheels the Miarayon farmers were able to sell their products directly to the consumers in Cagayan de Oro City amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Now we are glad to note that, despite the pandemic, they were able to expand their market, distributing their products to other regions,” DA-10 Regional Technical Director for Operations Carlota S. Madriaga accounted.
According to the director, Miarayon Highland Farmers Association is a model farmers group pioneering farm products consolidation in Northern Mindanao. The association is also one of only eight DA beneficiaries for the Sustainable Potato Program in the country. The program is undertaken in partnership with the Universal Robina Corp. (URC) of which, the Miarayon Highland Farmers Association emerged as the top potato producers.
While grateful of the agricultural assistance and opportunities accorded to them by DA, moving forward the farmers are hopeful of DA’s continued support.
“Given our situation right now, we hope we can be assisted in terms of road construction in some remote production areas in our place. Having a proper road will help us reduce the production costs. Also, we are looking forward to farming technology assistance from DA. This will be beneficial to keep us updated of modern farming methods,” Danio shared.
A model farmer in Miarayon, Danio considered farmer’s ingenuity and dedication key to thrive amid this pandemic. “We should not fret over the crisis. This will pass. The DA will always be around to guide and help us,” Danio said, assuring his fellows. (DA10/PIA10)