Thursday, 24 January 2013 15:09
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has pledged all assistance necessary to help Gawad Kalinga (GK) and its army of volunteers realize their vision of creating new townships for farmers awarded lands under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio Delos Reyes said the DAR management and employees are ready to assist Gawad Kalinga not only in building houses for farmers, but also in ensuring that Agrarian Reform Communities (ARCs) are transformed into models of economic development in the countryside.
“We are accepting the challenge of GK Founder Tony Meloto for DAR to forge partnerships with social entrepreneurs and civil society to help accelerate rural development in the country,” Delos Reyes said.
“The vision of Gawad Kalinga to help build new townships in the countryside is laudable. It is worthy of our all-out support and we are ready to participate in efforts to transform our ARCs into models of economic development in the provinces,” he added.
The DAR Secretary issued the statements during the round-table discussion organized by Gawad Kalinga for business leaders, social entrepreneurs and civil society groups held at the GK Enhanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan.
The Enchanted Farm, located in Barangay Encanto, marks the serious attempt of Gawad Kalinga to help government create new townships and accelerate economic development in the countryside.
Meloto said the Enchanted Farm, which showcases the products of farmers and CARP beneficiaries, is just one of the many projects that Gawad Kalinga seeks to undertake to realize its vision of helping government end poverty in the country by the year 2024.
“For us to realize this vision, we need the help of the DAR and everybody in building an army of patriots,” Meloto said.
Meloto explained that he sought the DAR’s participation in Gawad Kalinga’s projects in recognition of the Department’s efforts in uplifting the living condition of farmers, particularly those awarded land under agrarian reform.
“I have known Secretary Delos Reyes for a very long time and I believe in his leadership. I also believe that the DAR, with thousands of employees deployed in the countryside, can help us reach out to farmers the soonest time possible,” he added.
During the round-table discussion at Enchanted Farm, business leaders assured Delos Reyes and Meloto of an available and steady market for agricultural products being supplied by ARCs.
Mike Go of Human Nature, which manufactures cosmetic products, noted that their company is in dire need of essential oils that can be sourced from the produce of farmers and CARP beneficiaries.
They cited in particular citronella and lemongrass essential oils, which could be derived from local sources but are short of supply for Philippine market.
The Human Nature executives said they find it ironic that they have to source their essential oil from other countries like Germany despite the presence of citronella and lemongrass in the Philippines.
Officials of the Elarz Lechon, for their part, said CARP beneficiaries and their families may provide the company with a steady supply of pigs that can be grown in their backyard or in pig farms.
They explained that the company is now working with the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in Nueva Ecija to raise a new breed of pigs that can be perfect for roasting business. The company is opening more than 150 franchises in the Philippines this year, and is in the process of expanding the franchise business overseas.
Delos Reyes and Meloto had agreed to replicate the success of Enchanted Farm in future joint undertakings, with the end in view of setting up similar projects in other parts of Luzon as well as in Visayas and Mindanao.
Department of Agrarian Reform Elliptical Road, Diliman Quezon City, Philippines Tel: (632) 928-7031 to 39
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