LAOAG CITY – The historic town of Piddig in Ilocos Norte continues to make history in the new normal, breaking barriers of inclusive growth and development, particularly in rural and underserved communities.
Piddig town was among this year’s top 10 performing local government units for showcasing a holistic development strategy, empowering farmers to earn more through a consolidated farm production system.
It was cited for offering simple solutions to common problems encountered by farmers, from financing to land preparation, harvesting and marketing of their products.
Composed of 23 barangays and 46 zanjera organizations with no big industry players to stir the local economy, Piddig town was able to reduce its poverty incidence from 30 percent in 2010 to 5.59 percent this year.
It was in 2010 when former Piddig mayor Eduardo Guillen was elected to office and led the town in improving its poverty incidence.
The former town chief, currently the consultant to her wife and incumbent mayor Georgina Guillen, said efforts to reduce poverty incidence materialized when they helped the farmers reduce their farm inputs and came out with value-adding products in the supply chain.
“First, we must learn and understand the value chain. Know the problem and find solutions to it,” said Guillen in an interview.
As the proponent of the first national convergence project on coffee farming, Piddig tapped the resources of various national government agencies and transformed the municipality into a model for good governance and sustainable and inclusive development.
To date, farmers in Piddig town are actively engaged in expanding their tobacco, rice and other high-value crops production. It also serves as a pilot site for Wagyu cross and branded beef development program by partnering with private industry players to ensure a ready market for their products.
Earlier, the Piddig government entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Piddig Basi Multipurpose Cooperative, a multipurpose cooperative composed of 1,300 regular members and 4,000 associate members of zanjeras (irrigators’ associations).
“The cooperative serves as a service provider to our farmers and the local government complements all their needs,” said Guillen as farmers also get free crop insurance, free hospitalization, and burial assistance for as long as they support the local government’s community-based development initiatives.
“We are lucky to have visionary leaders in Piddig who clearly set the direction and know how we can get there,” said Patrosinio Sta. Ana, a farmer from Lagandit village. (PNA)