PARTNERS. Officials of the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center and the Department of Agrarian Reform sign a memorandum of understanding on the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) program at the DA-PCC Milka Krem, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija on Wednesday (Sept. 7, 2022). The MOU specified that both agencies will provide the participating agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations or community-based organizations with support services for improved farm productivity. (Photo courtesy of the DA-PCC)

SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija – Agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) in this province are now assured of support services for their sustainable livelihood.

This, after the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) and Department of Agrarian Reform-Nueva Ecija (DAR-NE) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Wednesday to provide them services that could enhance their productivity.

Nueva Ecija provincial agrarian reform program officer (PARPO) II Eden Ponio said on Thursday that the two agencies have sealed their commitment to the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) program.

EPAHP is a convergence program that aims to help mitigate hunger, ensure food and nutrition security, and reduce poverty in urban and rural communities, including marginalized communities.

“One priority agenda of the current administration is on boosting food production which will ultimately lead to food sufficiency,” Ponio said in a social media post.

Under the MOU, both government agencies will provide participating ARBOs or community-based organizations (CBOs) with support services for improved farm productivity through capacity building and technical support, infrastructure and facilities, access to financial assistance, and market assistance.

The participating ARBOs/CBOs will be linked to prospective markets, primarily the national feeding program of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which addresses malnutrition among Filipino children, as well as promotes the local dairy industry.

Five initial ARBOs/CBOs in Nueva Ecija were identified as beneficiaries -- Eastern Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Simula ng Panibagong Bukas (SIPBU) Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Catalanacan Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CAMPC), Bongabon Agriculture Cooperative and Delaen Farmers Agriculture Cooperative.

“Sa lahat po ng ating magiging (For all our soon-to-be) engagement, we can share with you whatever we have in terms of capacity building kasi iyon po ang strength namin (because that is our strength). In DAR, we put premium importance on people as the lead or prime movers of development,” Ponio said.

DA-PCC Executive Director Liza Battad said that qualified ARBOs under the Supplemental Feeding Program and related feeding programs will be accommodated soon with small-scale groups as priorities.

“Be assured na maliban dito sa limang nabanggit ay mayroon pang iba (aside from those five mentioned beneficiaries, there are others). Actually they are our champion cooperatives, kaya’t partner po tayo (so, we are partners) on helping build up relatively newer cooperatives because that is where assistance will be mostly needed,” Battad said. (PNA)