By Danny Estacio
CALAMBA CTY, Laguna- The Department of Agriculture (DA) in CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) continues to implement programs and activities and provide services to farmers, fishermen, and other stakeholders amid the COVID-19 pandemic, assured regional director Arnel V. de Mesa.
With these, de Mesa confirmed that the DA-CALABARZON’s skeletal workforce continues its services and keeps an eye on all agriculture-related activities, even during the Holy Week.
De Mesa said “DA-CALABARZON guarantees that right interventions, assistance, and support for our farmers and fisherfolk will come to them especially during this difficult time as we fulfill our obligation of ensuring that food productivity, availability, and sufficiency is attained,” he said.
Cash assistance under the Financial Subsidy for Rice Farmers (FSRF), in partnership with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), was distributed to 15,353 beneficiaries in Batangas and Quezon provinces recently.
“Farmers who tend a one-hectare farm or less were those who received five thousand pesos each for their day-to-day farming activities,” de Mesa explained.
The agriculture department also intensifies the importance of urban agriculture, which is regarded as one of the programs under the “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra COVID-19.” Over P34.8-million worth of vegetable seeds were already procured and delivered to all five agricultural program coordinating offices in the region, he added.
“All city and municipal agriculturists may devise a strategy on how to distribute the vegetable seeds to prioritize farmers with established marketing linkages,” de Mesa advised.
With regard to this, de Mesa tapped the Agricultural Training Institute-CALABARZON to provide information materials relevant to urban farming, particularly on how to grow and harvest indigenous vegetables within 30 – 35 days. These materials, he said, shall come along with the vegetable seed packs to be distributed, aside from the online information dissemination of the DA-CALABARZON through its Information Section.
“DA is also in collaboration with the interior department and the national police in facilitating the unhampered farming and transport activities of agriculture stakeholders of the region,” he also cited.
Along with the rollout of “KADIWA on Wheels,” de Mesa acknowledged the initiative of various local government units for buying agricultural products from farmers and fishermen, and distributing these to their constituents as part of their relief efforts.
“This action aids our farmers and fisherfolk to generate incomes and our consumers in boosting the immune system to help fight COVID-19,” he stated.