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Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries, government agencies to unite for food security

Deal Done. The DAR and DOH Cagayan Valley offices forge a partnership in support of the Hunger and Poverty Program, ensuring a ready market for farmers. (Image by PIA-2)

Imagine our Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Organizations (ARBOs) no longer worrying where to source their produce. Imagine them becoming direct suppliers of bulk products?

“Thanks to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for always finding ways to link us to agencies and organizations so that our product will have a sure market”, said Mang Rene of Bical, Peñablaca, Cagayan after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the DAR and the Department of Health (DOH) Region 2, and the signing of a marketing agreement with five ARBOs recently.

These are just some of the efforts of the agency in mitigating hunger and poverty as one of their vows under the government’s program on Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (PAHP) – an initiative of the government launched in 2016 under the Agrarian Reform Fund, which is being participated by different government agencies and stakeholders to ensure food security and to reduce hunger and poverty by 2030.

For the ARBOs, with each having more or less 30 members, imagine all their products being directly supplied to hospitals and schools on a regular basis, considering that hospitals require a steady supply of food items for their in-patients and schools needing safe and healthy food items for their feeding programs. Usual farm products sourced in by institutions include rice, vegetables, fruits, and other produce. 

Under the MOU, the DOH must ensure that DOH-retained hospitals and the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) First 1000 Days Intervention Package will subscribe to the ARBOs products and ensure that participating hospitals have contributed to the PAHP, while it continues to monitor food service programs of these hospitals under their jurisdiction.

It is also the responsibility of the DAR to ensure the linking of DOH for possible partnerships in terms of market for the farmer’s products and ensure that farmers produce the desired quality and quantity required by the DOH.

They too, must ensure that the ARBOs get a good and reasonable price for their products and services.

Primo Lara, DAR-2 Regional Director, said they have entered into the ­­agreement to capacitate  the ARBOs, emancipate them from hardships, and provide them linkages to institutional buyers.

“Our ARBOs are assured of market outlets or buyers of their raw products provided it is fresh, cheap but not to compromise its quality,” he said, while naming some institutional buyers like big DOH hospitals in the region, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Department of Education (DepEd), through the different  elementary schools in the region, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the National Nutrition Council (NNC) among others.

Fresh and safe. While every patient deserves nutritious food in their stay at the hospitals, these will be ensured as stipulated in the agreement that will allow ARBOs to supply quality agricultural products as food sources. (Image by PIA-2)

Dr. Amelita M. Pangalinan, DOH-2  Regional Director, pledged the department’s commitment and support in breaking the cycle of poverty and malnutrition by providing quality food for the people of Region 2. She also expressed her attitude to the DAR and the ARBOs  for providing a stable food supply for in-patients of tertiary hospitals like the Cagayan Valley Medical Center and the Southern Isabela Medical Center.

Knowing that the patients require nutritious and safe food, the DAR guaranteed that the ARBOs products comply with the highest standard of food safety.

The Sinili Vegetable Growers Agricultural Cooperative, Madaddala Farmers Marketing Cooperative, Upper Forest Region Agrarian Reform Cooperative, Isabela DAR Employees Multi-purpose Cooperative, Caviteño Isabelino Agricultural Cooperative and Bical Baliuag ARB Cooperative officers and members expressed enthusiasm with this partnership as the DAR assured them continuous technical support so that they can sustain the partnership and their duties and obligations.

 Marcelino Macarilay, chairperson of the Isabelino Agricultural Cooperative is grateful as they were recipients of a processing center worth P500,000 under the Village Level Farm-focused Enterprise Development (VLFED)  project of the DAR, which significantly contributed to the achievement of the goals of their cooperative.

In March 2023, the DAR and the BJMP renewed their partnership to help the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in sustaining their livelihood activities, as ARBs would supply their agricultural products to the food requirements of the BJMP.

Director Lara thanked the BJMP for their continued support to the region’s ARBs, while Regional Director BJMP-Region 2 Director Brendan Fulgencio said that the responsibility of the BJMP does not stop with keeping the society safe, but also giving hope to persons deprived of liberty (PDL) .

 With the meager daily allowance of every PDL, the BJMP still manages to provide healthy meals to every one of them, while helping farmers to have an additional steady market for their products.

For Mang Carlo, who sends two college students to school, another hope was born in him. He has been thankful for his membership as an ARBO because since then, they were not forgotten by the government. (JKC/GVB/PIA Region 2)

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Gene Baquiran


Region 2

I am simply amazing.

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