AID TO FARMERS. Agriculture Sec. William Dar leads the distribution of cash assistance and the release of farm equipment to farmers, fishermen, and different associations on Tuesday (Dec. 7) in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur. A total of PHP159.6 million worth of assistance were released by the agency to help the farmers and fishermen in Caraga augment their production needs. (Photo courtesy of DA-13)

BUTUAN CITY – A total of PHP159.6 million worth of assistance was released by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to individual farmers and associations in Caraga Region on Tuesday.

The distribution activity in the town of Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur was led by DA Secretary William Dar, the DA-13 (Caraga) said in a statement Tuesday.

During the distribution, 1,844 rice farmers from Prosperidad were given PHP5,000 cash assistance each.

“A total of 16,037 rice farmers from Agusan del Sur, including those who received from Prosperidad, are eligible to receive the PHP81.3 million cash aid. The assistance will help them augment their production needs,” the DA-13 said.

Dar also handed over PHP9.7 million worth of post-harvest machinery, processing, logistics, and marketing support to 15 farmers and fishers’ cooperatives in the region.

The support equipment forms part of the Enhanced Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita Inclusive Food Supply Chain Program of the agency aimed to equip the farmers and fisherfolk in the area who are considered as reliable food commodity suppliers to sustainably operate Kadiwa retail stores in their localities.

Among the groups that received the equipment are the CARCANMADCARLAN Agri-based Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur, and the Sumilihon-Taguibo Farmers Association in Butuan City.

The Bayugan Achievers Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Bayugan City and the local government unit (LGU) of Cabadbaran City in Agusan del Norte also each received a refrigerated van with a total amount of PHP10.96 million.

A total of 14 units of mechanical recirculating dryers amounting to PHP37.3 million were also turned over to the different LGUs in the region.

“The recirculating dryers will be operated by the said through their identified farmers’ cooperatives and associations,” the DA-13 said.

The recipients of the mechanical dryers included the municipalities of San Agustin, Marihatag, Lanuza, Madrid, Hinatuan, San Miguel, Tago, and Bislig City in Surigao del Sur; the towns of Prosperidad, Bunawan, Rosario, Talacogon, and San Francisco in Agusan del Sur; and Cabadbaran City.

The Kangyat Multi-Purpose Cooperative, a corn clustered organization in Talacogon, Agusan del Sur, also got PHP3 million worth of recirculating dryer with a generator.

A total of 174 coconut farmers from Agusan del Sur also received a total of PHP848,535 incentives from the DA secretary through the Philippine Coconut Authority.

“The agency envisions a food-secure Philippines with prosperous farmers and fishers. To do this, all programs and projects are aligned to the four pillars of the OneDA Reform Agenda: Modernization, Consolidation, Industrialization, and Professionalization will be in partnership with the LGUs,” Dar said in his message during the distribution activity.

He also emphasized the vital role of LGUs in increasing productivity and profitability at the local level through agriculture and fishery extension services.

The distribution activity on Tuesday was also graced by Agusan del Sur Gov. Santiago Cane Jr., DA-13 Director Ricardo Oñate, Jr., and other top officials in the province. (PNA)