By Mike U. Crismundo

BUTUAN CITY – As the medical and health experts fought against the dreaded coronavirus disease, farmers in Northeastern Mindanao or Caraga region are ensuring food availability for all.

With the support from the Department of Agriculture-Caraga (DA-Caraga), corn farmers are set to establish corn model farms in three sites in Caraga region.

These areas are in Barangay. Mandamo in Butuan City, Bunawan in Agusan del Sur and San Miguel in Surigao del Sur.

The regional office of DA 13-Caraga will provide free seeds, fertilizer, soil ameliorants, and bio-control agents as well as technical and marketing support for the three farm-cluster cooperators.

DA 13 Regional Executive Director (RED) Abel James I. Monteagudo with Regional Corn Program Coordinator Melody Guimary led the turn-over of farm inputs to Mandamo Integrated Farmers Association (MIFA) of Butuan City and Bunawan Agusan del Sur Corn Farmers Association held at DA-ILD Compound, Taguibo, Butuan City.

Gracing also the occasion were officers of Butuan City Agriculture Office headed by Engr. Pierre Anthony Joven and officers of the cluster-cooperators.

Corn model farm will serve as a show window of learning for the farmer-cooperators as well as farmers in adjacent areas. This will showcase appropriate technology to increase yield, reduce production cost through farm mechanization, and produce quality yellow and white corn grains.

Each farmer-cluster cooperator committed 50 hectares of land to be a corn model farm involving around 150 farmers.

“To help our farmers continue their noble role as a food producer, DA will support them through the provision of seeds and other inputs to make them productive despite of the pandemic,” RED Monteagudo said.

Nazario Baslote, chairperson of MAFI said that the project is a big help for them as they have availed free seeds and other inputs which is a big saving on their production cost.

“We are grateful that DA is always there for us. Despite the pandemic, we can produce food continuously,” he said.

The project is in support of the Plant Plant Plant Program (Agri4ps) towards a food-secure and resilient Philippines with prosperous farmers and fisherfolks, also said DA 13 Regional Spokesperson Emmylou T. Presilda.