DAR to revitalize agriculture in the Yolanda-stricken areas

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pix 1 jan 29 2014TWO MONTHS after super-typhoon Yolanda caused massive destruction in the provinces of Samar and Leyte, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) revisited the affected municipalities of the said provinces to conduct dialogues with farmer-beneficiaries to identify their immediate needs to restore and rehabilitate the devastated agrarian reform communities (ARCs).

DAR Secretary Virgilio Delos Reyes said there is an additional budget for the typhoon-ravaged areas and he wanted to hear from the affected agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) what their immediate needs are to prioritize them in the restoration and rehabilitation plan for devastated ARCs.

“I want to see personally the extent of damage in the areas so that I can effectively defend the speedy release of funds and also make proper coordination with the concerned local government units (LGUs) in whatever help they could provide to our farmers,” Delos Reyes said.

The municipalities visited in Samar are Balangiga, Marabut, Lawaan and Basey. Dialogues were also conducted in the towns of Julita and Palo in Leyte.
pix 2 jan 29 2014
The priority needs the farmers presented during the dialogues include repair of their houses and post-harvest facilities, planting materials and other farm inputs, clearing of their lots, repair of irrigation systems and livelihood opportunities.

Agrarian Reform Communities Project (ARCP-2) Deputy National Project Director Herman Ongkiko said that the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) has already committed coconut seedlings and camote cuttings for the intercropping. “Some needs however, will be sourced out from other government agencies and organizations,” he added.

DAR Regional Director Eliasem Castillo said the DAR is also negotiating with other international organizations to source out assistances for these areas.

On the other hand, Balangiga Mayor Viscuso De Lira said the DAR was the first national government agency to respond to his town’s needs after the typhoon’s destruction.

It was learned that the DAR is looking forward to the next 18 months as recovery period for the affected farmers.