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DAR: 130,000 hectares up for distribution

SunStarDEPARTMENT of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes said the distribution of lands covered by a notice of coverage (NOC) under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) will continue, adding that up to 130,000 hectares of landholdings in Negros Occidental are still up for distribution.

De los Reyes, who was in Bacolod City yesterday for the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to promote organic farming technology among the out-of-school youth, said they will proceed with the land distribution despite the opposition from local officials in Negros Occidental.

The NOC Extension Bill is pending in Congress and it is addressed towards landholdings not issued with the NOC, he said.

“(For) landholdings which were subject to the NOC prior to June 30, 2013, we will continue with the acquisition. People have a mistaken notion that we cannot continue with the acquisition, but we can continue based on Section 10 of Republic Act 9700,” the DAR chief said.

De los Reyes refused to reveal the vast landholdings in the province that are up for distribution and acquisition.
He said the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has “no deadline for it because it's based on constitutional mandate so long as the landholding is covered by the NOC.”

When the Carp started in 1972, DAR targeted to distribute nine million hectares of landholdings all over the country and the balance for distribution at present is 500,000 to 600,000 hectares, Delos Reyes said.
“We will continue what we have started and the government through its meager and limited budget has been trying to enhance the support services", he said.

Although he does not claim that Carp is a total success, De los Reyes said that the living conditions of agrarian reform beneficiaries are better than those who are not Carp beneficiaries.

De los Reyes also noted the success of the block farming program, a concept jointly developed by the DAR, the Department of Agriculture, and the Sugar Regulatory Administration said to increase sugar production from 99 to 147 bags of sugar per hectare.

Each sugar cane block farm consists of 30 to 60 hectares of sugar land to be managed as one block, such that activities in the small individual farms are aligned and implemented according to the plans of the whole block.

Under the program, the DAR provides farm implements, the DA constructs or rehabilitates irrigation facilities and farm-to-mill road, and the SRA extends technical assistance to farmers’ organizations to enhance productivity.

In Bacolod yesterday, De los Reyes witnessed signing of the MOU for the Organic Learning Center and Library for Out-of-School Youth at May's Organic Garden in Barangay Pahanonocoy.

Source: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/bacolod/local-news/2015/04/18/dar-130000-hectares-distribution-403072

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