By Mike U. Crismundo

BUTUAN CITY – Some P588 million worth of assistance had been extended to farmers in Caraga region amidst coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

“Our COVID-19 response to our farmers is still continuing without let up,” stressed DA 13 Regional Executive Director (RED) Abel James I. Monteagudo, during the 1st virtual press conference last week.

The DA 13 officials said the agency’s COVID-19 response with various production program already benefited some 75,000 farmers in Northeastern Mindanao or Caraga region.

Some of the programs are Kadiwa Ani at Kita, Rice Resiliency Project, expanded SURE-Aid Project and Urban Agricultural Program.

“The government also extended farm machineries, financial assistance and access to production loan assistance to individual farmers and farm cooperatives and organizations,” RED Monteagudo said.

DA-Caraga through the Agribusiness and Marketing Division (AMAD) and the local government units (LGUs) has been assisting the various cooperatives and associations to market their products at a good price.

For the current year, Caraga region has been targeting a production area of 2,766 hectares with a production of 24,322 metric tons (MT) for cassava.

“DA is focusing its support to the farmers to stand amidst the pandemic we’ve experience nowadays,” stressed further RED Monteagudo.

DA-Caraga has been supporting Caraga farmers with production inputs, pre and post-harvest facility as well as technical support to help the farmers become prosperous and resilient, despite of this COVID-19 crisis, he said.

Meanwhile, a resource center for agriculture run by the provincial government of Agusan del Sur has recently received harvest facilities from the DA Caraga region 13.

DA-13 said a total of 204 units of pre- and post-harvest facilities and small-scale irrigation projects worth PHP7.1 million were handed over to the Agricultural Resource Center (ARC) in Barangay Mabuhay, Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur, recently.

RED Monteagudo added that the agency is strengthening the capacities of farmers with their groups and organizations through mechanization.