ALCALA, Cagayan—The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recently turned-over a solar-powered irrigation system to increase the farm productivity of farmers in the San Esteban agrarian reform community (ARC) in Alcala town.
“Based on our studies, we have identified Barangay San Esteban as one of the most arid places in Cagayan, meaning, some areas here are too dry or too barren to support vegetation. We are providing our farmers with this solar-powered irrigation because we know that this will greatly increase their production,” Under Secretary for Support Services Rosalina Bistoyong said.
The irrigation system is conducted under the DAR’s Climate Resilient Farm Productivity Support Project (CRFPSP) in partnership with the Department of Agriculture Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM).
The project includes community orientation, planning, and training on the operation of project facility and installation of solar pump equipment.
Bistoyong said the solar-powered irrigation is a complete system which provides fresh water from a well and reservoir for use in livestock, domestic use, and industrial agriculture.
“This irrigation project will address the ARC’s problem of extreme dryness during summer, especially if there is an El Niño phenomenon where there is an absence of rain that lasts for months,” she added.
Mayor Criselda Ti Antonio of Alcala Cagayan thanked DAR and the other agencies involved in making the project come to fruition.
“This project is very timely after Typhoon Lawin devastated Cagayan. We thank the government for recognizing the effects of climate change. Rest assured that we will take appropriate care of the new blessing that has been given to our municipality,” Mayor Antonio said.
Bistoyong added that the agency should take advantage of the opportunities to create projects and adopt appropriate measures which will eventually mitigate impacts among our agrarian reform areas.
“We need to build and create more projects that will help our farmers combat the negative effects of climate change. Our farmers should take care of this project because not all agrarian cooperatives are given opportunities like this, be responsible for managing it and make this productive for your own benefit and welfare,” Bistoyong said.
Under the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, DAR is mandated to prioritize the implementation of support services to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).
This was emphasized by the President when he spearheaded the distribution of certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs) in Sultan Kudarat province earlier this month.
President Duterte, who identified those who toil the land for living as his “idol”, gave an assurance that more programs and projects will be poured into various ARCs under his presidency.
Bistoyong led the turn-over ceremony to the San Esteban Cooperative members. She said that 35 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) will benefit from the said project. (Marvi Turingan, DAR-Cagayan Information Officer)
Photo 1: Symbolic cutting of ribbon led by Usec. Rosalina Bistoyong(centermost), Mayor Cristina (second left) Antonio, ARDA Paramon D. Furigay (leftmost) and PARPO Arthur E. Faeldon (rightmost).
Photo 2: Blessing of the solar-powered irrigation system.
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This was reported by DAR Regional Director Atty. Marjorie Ayson during the department’s 2018 mid-year performance review and planning in Tagaytay City.
The farmers were trained on: agri-technology, agri-extension services, modern farming, organic farming, business development services, credit facilitation, entrepreneurship, just to name a few.
Ayson said the trainings were significant interventions in preparing and capacitating the farmers individually and holistically.
“Individually, adapting what they have learned would be a big help in improving themselves and in making their awarded lands more productive.
Holistically, as members of their own respective ARBOs, they can contribute in making their cooperatives or associations stronger by providing variety of specialized services to organization as members,” Ayson said.
The DAR’s performance review and planning session was conducted to resolve and address problems in implementing agrarian reform for the year.
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The agricultural lands covering an area of 2,044 hectares are situated in the provinces of Cagayan, Nueva Vizcaya, and Isabela.
Castriciones said the issuance of titles shows that the government recognizes the role of farmers as true heroes of the country.
“Last night, during our Cabinet meeting, the President said the farmers are close to his heart because they are the strength of the country,” said Castriciones.
The secretary said President Duterte’s directive to pursue a more aggressive agrarian reform program will ensure that farmer-beneficiaries are provided with what they need to uplift their economic lives.
“Where before they were left out by the government, the President will do its best to make them feel loved by providing the needed production loans, farm machineries, seeds, irrigation, farm-to-market roads, and other support services that would enhance their economic activities that would ultimately integrate their economic well-being into the mainstream of society,” he emphasized.
Castriciones added that under the Duterte administration, the DAR, being the lead implementing agency of CARP, will implement a two-pronged approach to separately cover more private and public agricultural lands for distribution to landless farmers.
For government-owned agricultural lands, he said the DAR is looking at identifying unclassified public lands or lands of the public domain with still no classification that may be converted into agricultural land.
“To achieve this, we have drafted an executive order (EO) for approval by the President.
The Secretary said that a bill is also being prepared by DAR which would contain procedures to acquire more agricultural lands for distribution and more measures to empower farmers.
“In this bill that we are drafting, we will distribute individual CLOAs instead of collective CLOAs. The President prefers this, and we agree because it is more empowering for farmers.”
“Individual CLOAs is better because it enables farmer-beneficiaries to have a clear and defined ownership of parcels of land. Unlike in collective CLOAs where a group of farmers owns the land,” added Castriciones.
He said the EO and the bill if approved and enacted, would greatly contribute in pursuing the second phase of agrarian reform.
Turn over of support services
At the same event, Castriciones, assisted by DAR Undersecretary for support services Emily Padilla, led the ceremonial turnover of farm machines which includes harvesters and tractors worth P50.5 million to farm cooperatives in Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Isabela and Cagayan.
“We want to uplift their economic lives by increasing their agricultural production and household income. That’s why these farm inputs are being provided to enhance the support systems of our ARBs,” Padilla said.
The DAR also turned over three bridges under the Tulay ng Pangulo para sa kaunlarang Pang-Agraryo. The bridges are in Baggao, Cagayan; Luna and Echague in Isabela.
Under the Village Level farm-focused enterprise Development (VELFED), a food-processing center was turned over to the Villa Pascua Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Quirino. The project called Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (PAHP) worth P293,000 was turned over to the Tres Reyes ARB Cooperative.
Castriciones also launched the ARB Housing for farmers. “Our farmers do not only need their own land to till, they also need to have a house of their own.”
Also launched were the following: The DAR-Land Bank partnership on Accessible and Sustainable Lending program for farmers (ASL) and the livelihood assistance project in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Farmer Pacita Balingan of Nueva Vizcaya couldn’t contain her happiness and shed tears of joy after receiving so much help from DAR.
“Salamat President Duterte, salamat DAR sa suporta sa ming mga magsasaka. Ramdam namin ang mga pagtulong ninyo sa amin para makamit ang tunay na pagbabago,” Balingan said.
Photo 1: Secretary John Castriciones hands over CLOAs to a farmer-beneficiary as DAR Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer Joey Rolando Umblas looks on.
Photo 2: The Secretary cuts the ceremonial ribbon at the ARB housing launch. Assisting him were Congresswoman Luisa Lloren Cuaresma, DAR Regional Director Atty. Marjorie P. Ayson, PagIBIG Senior Vice President for financial services Francisco Espana, Bayombong Mayor Ralph Lantion and DAR Assistant Secretary Minnie San Juan.
Photo 3: The Secretary inspects the harvesters and tractors before turning it over to agrarian cooperatives.
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