LEGAZPI CITY – The Department of Agriculture in Bicol (DA-5) has started to distribute vegetable seeds, farm inputs and garden tools to villages as part of the Halina't Magtanim ng Prutas at Gulay sa Barangay Project (HAPAG) Kadiwa ay Yaman (KAY) Plants for Bountiful Barangays Movement (HAPAG KAY PBBM) program.
In an interview on Tuesday, Lovella Guarain, DA-5 information officer, said the program seeks to turn communities into patches of edible landscapes and improve Filipinos' nutrition.
"As of today, we distributed to an initial 50 barangays. For others, they need to show intent by submitting a letter to avail of the said free seeds, farm inputs, and garden tools. We can give to all 3,471 barangays the 'pinakbet gulay' ingredients such as eggplant, beans, okra (lady's finger)," Guarin said.
She said the HAPAG KAY BBM program is similar to their previous food security program "Gulayan sa barangay, sa paaralan at sa simbahan".
"Interested barangays can go to our regional office in Camarines Sur or to the Research Outreach Stations of DA in different provinces," Guarin said.
Meanwhile, some 58 farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) from Camarines Sur province have recently received PHP181.8 million worth of agriculture machinery under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Mechanization Component.
"Last Feb. 23, DA-Bicol and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech), one of the attached agencies of our agency, turned over pieces of machinery to beneficiary FCAs at the Camarines Sur provincial capitol convention center. Among the types of machinery that were turned over were 42 units of hand tractors, seven units of floating tillers, 19 units walk behind transplanters, 2 units of riding-type transplanters, one unit of the precision seeder, 40 units of rice reaper, eight units of rice combine harvester, eight units of mobile rice mill, five units 12-T recirculating dryers, one unit 1.5tph multi-stage rice mill and two units 2-3 tph (tonnes per hour) multi-stage rice mill. These machinery were funded under the RCEF mechanization component for CY 2022," Guarin said.
In a statement, DA-Bicol Regional Executive Director Rodel Tornilla urged the farmers to be proud of their profession.
“Ang pang-araw-araw na pagkain ng mga Bicolano ay nakadepende po sa inyo kaya kayo po ang mga bagong bayani ng ating bayan. Padangat po kamo kan DA, at ang mga makinarya ay ibinigay sainyo upang mapadali ang trabaho at mabawasan ang inyong gastos sa sakahan (The daily food of the Bicolano people depends on you, so you are the new heroes of our country. Please come to the DA, and the machinery was given to you to facilitate the work and reduce your farming costs)," he said. (PNA)