The Department of Agriculture last week distributed various machineries and equipment to 17 farmers and irrigators associations, as well as various agricultural inputs and assorted vegetable seeds to local government units and public schools.
Regional Executive Director Rodel Tornilla led the distribution of the farm equipment at the DA’s Catanduanes Hilly Upland Development Station at Casoocan, Virac last Sept. 21, 2022, with representatives of TGP Partylist and House Deputy Majority Leader Rep. Jose Teves Jr. and Catanduanes Rep. Eulogio Rodriguez as well as Provincial Agriculturist Nelia Teves and different municipal agriculturists.
The Pajo Baguio Farmers Association (Virac) and Oguis Farmers Association (Bato) each received a Pressurized Irrigation System in Open Source (PISOS) while the Cabihian Farmers Association got a Shallow Tube Well (STW).
Rice threshers were released to the Barangay Sta. Mesa Agriculture Fishery Association (Bagamanoc), Agban JMA Farmers Association (Baras), Sagrada Osmena Moning Integrated Farmers Assocition (Baras), Tarazo Irrigators Association (Bato), KAMMA Farmers Association (Panganiban) and Padurog Swisa Association (Virac).
Seven Walking-Type Agricultural Tractors (Pull Type) were given to Agban JMA Farmers Association (Baras), Tarazo Irrigators Association (Bato), Dororian Farmers Association (Gigmoto), Catagbacan Farmers Association (San Andres), Lictin Farmers Association (San Andres) Sagullhong Integrated Livelihood Association (Viga) and Padurog Swisa Association (Virac).
The Libjo San Pedro Talisay Irrigators Association in Bato also received a Walk-behind Transplanter.
A day earlier at the Catanduanes State University gymnasium, various agricultural inputs and assorted vegetable seeds costing a total of P959,680.00 were released to 80 elementary and secondary schools under the Gulayan sa Paaralan Project (GPP), the last batch of the 200-plus public schools in Catanduanes to receive the assistance from DA.
Each GPP package valued at P11,996.00 consisted of 20 soft pots, two plastic crates, two rolls of vegetable twines, plastic pail, two bags of organic fertilizer and 16 packets of vegetable seeds.
According to DA-Bicol Field Operations Division Chief Dr. Mary Grace Rodriguez, the Gulayan sa Paaralan Program seeks to promote self-help production activities and proper values among children and the youth and enhance their view of agriculture as a life support system through the establishment and maintenance of school gardens in public schools throughout the country.
Citing the importance of the project, Governor Joseph Cua urged the recipients to sustain the project as this will provide proper nutrition to the Catandunganon students as well as harness appreciation towards agriculture.
“The mission to achieve food sufficiency is not simple. Like a crop, we need to nourish the seeds of our ambition with our harmonized efforts,” the local chief executive added.
In remarks read by his representative, Romeo Asuncion, Cong. Teves said that as vice chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, he has always encouraged and supported activities to further improve the agriculture sector not only for the benefit of the farmers but also of the entire community in ensuring food security for all.
The same message was echoed by congressional staffer Dennis Pereyra, who represented Cong. Rodriguez.
On the other hand, DepEd Catanduanes project development officer Rosario Vegim expressed the gratitude of the Schools Division Office for the support from DA.
“Malaking bagay po ang Gulayan sa Paaralan sa mga estudyante kasi ‘yung mga batang hindi sapat ang pagkain nila sa pagpasok sa klase at hindi sila makapagfocus sa pag-aaral… At isa pa, ‘yung mga estudyante po na hindi inclined sa academic, binibigyan po sila ng time para makapagtanim at nai-embrace po nila ‘yung ganda ng pagtatanim at pagsasaka,” said Vegim, who represented Superintendent Dr. Susan Collano.
All 11 municipalities received agricultural supplies costing P49,750 per set while the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist got P1.29 million worth of agricultural supplies under the High Value Crops Development Program.
The DA release to OpAG’s consisted of 10 sets of garden tools, five sets of hand tools, two rolls of plastic mulch. a roll of plastic film, and 25,000 pieces of grafted cacao seedlings which will be given to interested farmers who are interested in producing cacao beans which are used in making chocolates.
“Ang sektor ng agrikultura ang mga tunay na bayani ng ating bayan at sila ang nagpapakain sa lahat ng mga tao dito sa Catanduanes. Kapag po sila tumigil sa pagtatanim, lahat po tayo ay magugutom,” Director Tornilla stressed.
Also present during the ceremony were CatSU Vice President for Administrative and Financial Affairs Dr. Maria Edna Iñigo, Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer (APCO) for Catanduanes Rafael Magallanes, and Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer (APCO) ng Catanduanes; and Provincial High Value Crops Development Program Focal Person John Carlo Dasigan.