To encourage more farmers to engage in agriculture, the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Provincial Agriculture Technology Coordinating Office (PATCO) Siquijor recently turned over one unit of four-wheel drive tractor (55 hp) to Caitican Farmers Association in Siquijor, Siquijor.
The P1.3 million worth of intervention is in support of the corn-cassava program which is expected to ease the farmers' laborious job during land preparations.
"Dako kaayo kini ug matabang namo sa among pagpama-ul. Dako kaayo namong pasalamat sa DA ug mga lakbit nga ahensya sa pagtabang namo nga maka-angkon aning tractor (This is a big help to our farming. We are thankful to DA and the other agencies for helping us with this tractor)," said Martiniano Olhon, president of Caitican Farmers Association.
Aside from tilling idle lands for agriculture in Caitican, the association has also expanded their farm areas in neighboring barangays, namely, Caipilan, Cang-adieng, Songculan, and Bolos, encouraging more people to invest in agriculture.
"Atong pagkaon gikan sa yuta. Tumong namo nga mahagit ang mga kabatan-onan ug magamit ang mga bakanteng lote sa pagpama-ul (Our food comes from our farms. We aim to encourage young people to utilize the vacant lots for farming," added Olhon.
He said they wish to be role models to the younger generation, adding that they are willing to offer assistance should they decide to start their practice in agriculture.
Currently, the association has a total of 129.36 hectares of fragmented land, of which more than three hectares are planted with cassava and peanut while other areas are also planted with corn and mongo.
During the turnover ceremony, a demonstration on how to operate the tractor was conducted, exhibiting its performance.
Rodolfo Anulacion of DA said he hopes for the intervention to increase farm productivity by cutting down high labor cost of about 30% to 40%.
"It is one of the aspirations of the department to expand the production area and make use of idle lands," said Anulacion.
"We hope the Caitican Farmers Association will keep the intervention in top shape and handle it with due diligence so it can bring positive benefits to the farmers in the association and other farmers in neighboring barangays in the coming years," he added.
The association has prepared a shed house for the safekeeping of the machinery.
Also present during the turn-over were Officer-in-Charge Provincial Agriculturist Emigdio Coretico and Provincial Corn Coordinator Jimbo Israel Casalta of the Provincial Agriculture Office, DA-PATCO Corn-Cassava Program Coordinator Sherwin Dave Banglos, and Municipal Corn-Cassava Coordinator Aiza Lee Agan of the Municipality of Siquijor. (PR/Mary Jane Banglos, DA-PATCO Siquijor)