News Feature: DAR farm equipment, access to credit boost farmer org's income in AgNor town

piaBUTUAN CITY, Sept. 15 (PIA) -- In a poor community where businesses can hardly survive without the required economic liquidity to provide a market for any enterprise, the achievement of Baleguian Organic Farmers Irrigators Association (BOFIA) is a story of struggle in achieving a modicum of economic success through financial discipline inspiring leadership and transparent management.

BOFIA Chairman Wenifredo Maldo was recently a recipient of a recognition from the national leadership of Agrarian Production Credit Program (APCP), a credit program of Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Department of Agriculture (DA) for production capital assistance to farmers, for 100 percent repayment of loans borrowed by its members held in Cagayan de Oro City last Mar. 9-10, 2016.

"Nindot lang ang tabang ninyo sir kung kami nakasabot nga dili lang bayran and utang kung di among ipakita nga kami nabulahan tungod sa tabang (The assistance of DAR is significant only if recipients understands that repayment is not simply returning the money but in demonstrating with our lives and families that we have been better off with it)," said Maldo upon his arrival in Butuan City.

BOFIA has now a total asset value of P40 million consisting of rice threshers, hand tractors, harvester, floating tiller and tractor with plow trailer, which they got from DAR's Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support Services (ARCCESS) program. The farm implements alone are providing an income of more than P200,000 annually to the association.

BOFIA has also a record performance in keeping a 100 percent payment of irrigation fees to National Irrigation Administration (NIA) with irrigation facilities funded by DAR through Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project phase II (ARISP-II) that supply water to 180 hectares of CARP distributed ricelands. Crossing through the rice fields strategically are concrete roads funded also by ARISP II.

BOFIA is the monitoring arm of DAR, NIA and LGU in providing feedback and laborers during the construction of roads and irrigation facilities. The members active feed-backing resulted in the quality completion of the projects.

Micro-lending with APCP as capital, enterprise operations with farm implements from ARCCESS, and partnership with line agencies (LAs) and local government units (LGUs) in infrastructure implementation make BOFIA a perfect candidate for outstanding award having demonstrated the capability to inspire members to pay their financial obligations, profitably operate rural enterprise, productively manage their farms and effectively coordinate with partner agencies. (Gil E. Miranda, DAR-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)