By GABRIEL MARK OCENAR
April 25, 2020
CALBIGA, Samar – They used to supply vegetables and other farm products for the feeding program in Day Care centers throughout this town.
Now, Samar Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Celsa Mabutin disclosed that the local government unit (LGU) is buying all the agricultural products of these five Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)-assisted farmer organizations here to feed its residents during this global crisis due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Mabutin further disclosed that the five agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) are the Calbiga Vegetable Growers Association, Panayuran Upland Farmers Association, Brgy. Bulao Farmers Association, Canbagtic Farmers Association, and Borong Active Farmers Association.
The farmers’ products will give variation to the canned goods commonly provided during relief assistance distribution. With this move, the LGU is incorporating nutritious foods to every household.
According to Municipal Nutrition Action Officer and member of the Municipal COVID Task Force, Evelyn Jabonete, in a Facebook post by the National Nutrition Council Region VIII, available sources of foods in the locality during the quarantine period is very important.
Instead of transporting our agricultural products to other areas, let us serve these to our local households, she added.
With the temporary suspension of holding “tabo” or flea market pursuant to Executive Order No. 10, series of 2020, issued by Mayor Melchor Nacario, as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the LGU buy and pick-up all the farmers’ harvests in their respective areas.
Among the ARBOs’ products purchased by the concerned LGU include: string beans, upo, eggplant, bitter gourd, banana, sweet potato, cassava, corn, sweet pepper, gabi, pineapple, loofah, Baguio beans, tomato, okra, hot pepper, ginger and papaya.
Based on the sales record of the five ARBOs, they earned a combined amount of more than P288,000 from April 3 to 8 and April 13 to 17, or during the quarantine period.
Though the town is now under enhanced community quarantine effective April 15 to 30 this year, pursuant to Executive Order No. 11, series of 2020, issued by Nacario on April 14, farmers and fisherfolks will be given exemption passes by the Municipal Agriculture Office to go about their daily routine for food security considerations.
Furthermore, DAR-8 Regional Director Stephen Leonidas ordered the field implementers to provide the agrarian reform beneficiaries and ARBOs throughout the region the agency issued quarantine accreditation pass, as authorized by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID), for the continuous supply of agricultural products.
These five ARBOs, Mabutin said, are recipients of DAR’s Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (PAHP) program, which is in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the LGU.
Under this collaboration, the LGU purchases farm products from the ARBOs for the feeding program in Day Care Centers of the DSWD.