The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) sealed a P2.6-million contract with the Visayas State University (VSU) to transform selected agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) in Eastern Visayas into viable agri-entrepreneurs.
Regional Director Eliasem Castillo said the DAR is tapping professional service providers from state universities and colleges (SUCs), civil society organizations (CSOs) and private institutions to enhance the capacity of ARBOs on agri-extension and agri-enterprise development under the Agrarian Reform Communities Connectivity and Economic Support Services (ARCCESS).
“For the next 12 months, VSU would provide market-oriented agri-technology and agri-extension services to farmer-beneficiaries of 22 ARBOs in the provinces of Leyte, Biliran and Southern Leyte to enable them to maximize the productivity of their awarded lots, as well as, to engage in agri-related enterprises,” Castillo said.
Areas covered by the agreement are in Naval, Biliran; Dulag, McArthur, Mayorga, Julita and La Paz towns in Leyte province; and Silago in Southern Leyte, where farmer-organizations are enganged in “Rice Productivity Enhancement”; while Inopacan, Hilongos and Matalom towns all in the province of Leyte are into “Cassava and Sweet Potato Production.”
Some 6,772 farmers of the 22 ARB organizations will benefit from this partnership.
VSU President Jose Bacusmo said the University is committed to deliver more than what is stated in the contract as part of its contribution to the government’s sustainable rural development program.
“We are happy to work on this project because rice production is the main concern of the farmers, and the farmers are the main concern of our institution,” Bacusmo said.
Castillo believed that the collaboration between DAR and VSU would greatly contribute to the National Year of Rice program of the government and help attain rice sufficiency at least in the Eastern Visayas region.
“Early this year, these farmer-organizations under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) were provided with the necessary farm equipment, such as threshers, hand tractors with implements, mechanical transplanters with seeder conveyor, combined harvesters and flatbed dryers, based on the recommendations of the SUCs that were commissioned by DAR to conduct the needs assessment and design assessment (NADA),” Castillo added.
ARCCESS is an alternative rural development approach wherein support services provided by the DAR are delivered directly to selected agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs).