BUTUAN CITY—The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) launched today a rural-development project where more than 13,000 Caraga farmers are expected to benefit from.
Dubbed as the Convergence on Value-Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment (ConVERGE), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad) provided funds for the project.
Launched during the Agrarian Reform Beneficiairies’ (ARBs) Congress, DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano said ConVERGE would assist farmers planting abaca in Agusan del Norte, rice in Agusan del Sur, coconuts in Surigao del Norte and coffee in Surigao del Sur.
“The ConVeRGE project is a “leveled-up” DAR-Ifad project aimed at helping farmers move from production to marketing, trading and even recycling,” said Mariano.
The projects include construction of postharvest facilities, improvement of rural infrastructures, production and marketing of agricultural products or commodities; capability-building, and procurement of farm equipment.
Meanwhile, DAR Undersecretary for Foreign Assisted Projects Sylvia Mallari said the project would be implemented from 2016 to 2020.
“As implementers of project ConVERGE, we will exert all effort to ensure the project’s success,” said Mallari.
Projects under ConVERGE are also being implemented in agrarian-reform community clusters in various provinces of Regions 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) and 10 (Northern Mindanao).
At the ARBs’ Congress, the DAR also distributed certificates of landownership awards (CLOAs) to 529 ARBs from the municipalities of Dinagat Islands, Agusan Norte, Agusan Sur, Surigao Sur and Surigao del Norte.
The distribution was led by Secretary Mariano, Undersecretary Mallari and DAR Regional Director Julita Ragandang.
Ragandang said the distribution of CLOAs covered a total of 718 hectares of agricultural lands.
Ragandang encouraged the farmers to be a member of the cooperative to avail the support services provided by the DAR.
“As member of the cooperative, farmers can avail credit assistance, crop insurance, farm facilities, and marketing support for a sustainable crop production, agri-enterprise, and livelihood projects that can help them to increase their income,” Ragandang said.
The ARBs’ Congress is a two-day event that gathered more than 400 ARBs in Caraga to hear Secretary Mariano talk about his thrusts and priorities. It was also a venue where the DAR distributed economic benefits, loan credits, launched a project and distributed certificates of land ownership awards (CLOAs) to ARBs. (30)
Photo 1: Secretary Rafael Mariano (in red checkered shirt) poses with farmers awarded with certificates of land ownership awards (CLOAs). With him are Undersecretaries Marcos Risonar Jr. and Sylvia Mallari, and Caraga Regional Director Julita Ragandang.
Photo 2: Undersecretary for Foreign Assisted Projects Sylvia Mallari explains the ConVERGE projects to ARBs.
Photo 3: DAR officials unveiled the project ConVERGE to the farmer-participants.