New road to open opportunities for Surigao coco farmers

(L-R) DAR 13- Regional Project Director Leomides R. Villareal with Project ConVERGE National Project Director Faisar A. Mambuay, CESO IV standing beside the project road monument.

"It was only a dream and now a reality. The people of Mabini is very grateful to the Department of Agrarian Reform and LGU Placer for making this dream come true,” said Ruel S. Moneda, Brgy. Captain of Mabini in Placer, Surigao del Norte.

This, after the provincial office of the Department of Agrarian Reform in Surigao del Norte (DAR-SDN) through its Project Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment (ConVERGE) conducted the turnover of the farm-to-market road (FMR) project last March 4, 2021.

The FMR that spans 2.1 kilometers amounting P23.9 million will benefit 344 direct beneficiaries and 2,902 indirect beneficiaries.

“The concreting of farm-to-market road is sub-project support to the main project, the coconet and bio-fertilizer enterprise,” said Maria Elizabeth L. De Guzman, the Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II.

“It is also expected to boost the Coconet and Biofertilizer enterprises project of Claver-Gigaquit-Bacuag-Placer agrarian reform cluster of the project”, she added.

On the other hand, Placer Mayor Jovie Marie C. Villazon expressed excitement to see the lives of the farmers in the municipality with the new road.

“For almost two years, after the challenges that have been encountered along its implementation, at last the project is now being turned over,” according to the Mayor. She thanked the DAR for its continuing effort in providing services to its beneficiaries especially to the people of Placer.

She also expressed her undying support to the future endeavors of DAR in partnership with the local government unit of Placer.

Meanwhile, DAR Caraga Regional Director Leomides R. Villareal underscored that the project is a manifestation that this government under President Rodrigo Duterte is working for the welfare of the farmers specially the agrarian reform beneficiaries even with the challenges of the pandemic.

The construction of the said FMR has taken a backseat due to the global health emergency crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with some issues on road right of way. Villareal also challenged the farmers of Mabini to take care of this project. “this project will have long-lasting results when properly taken cared of”, he emphasized.

In his message during the turn-over, Project ConVERGE National Project Director Faisar Mambuay emphasized that the FMR will minimize the travelling expenses of the farmers and speeds up the hauling process of their products.

“With Project ConVERGE, government agencies have pooled their resources together to teach the farmers the value chain approach and make them entrepreneurs through their agrarian organizations” said Director Mambuay.

Dir. Mambuay added that the Project will continue to capacitate the farmers, enabling them to navigate their enterprise towards forging marketing agreements for their products and establishing their credibility in accessing production loans not just from government banks but from private financing institutions as well.

This road project under the DAR-Project ConVERGE is co-funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), with counterpart from the local government unit of Placer.

-Daryll Tumbaga, PIO-Surigao del Norte