Sagada coffee farmers affected by forest fires to get aid soon

By Liza Agoot

April 6, 2024, 6:33 pm

<p><em>(Photo courtesy of DA)</em></p>

(Photo courtesy of DA)

BONTOC, Mountain Province – The local government of Sagada assured Saturday that it is collaborating with various agencies to help coffee farmers affected by forest fires in February and March.

Sagada Mayor Felicito Dula said in an interview that while they do not have the actual number of trees razed, losses were pegged at PHP16 million while more than 30 coffee farmers lost livelihood.

On the sidelines of the 17th Mountain Province Lang-ay Festival here, Dula said the affected farmers were already referred to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which gave PHP5,000 each.

"It is a small amount but we are still coordinating with the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) for an additional allotment for the forest fire-affected farmers," the mayor said.

He said DOLE initially gave PHP1 million in assistance under the TUPAD (Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers) emergency employment program, but the coffee farmers were not the identified recipients yet.

He added that they also sought the help of the Department of Agriculture for financial assistance and to help the farmers assess the coffee plants that can still be salvaged.

The mayor vowed to look for other means to help the farmers, adding that the local government would provide them planting materials to replace those that were destroyed by the fire.

Sagada coffee, specifically the Sagada Gold brand which is patented by the local government, is sold at PHP250 per 200 grams and is among the favorite "pasalubong" (giveaways) of tourists. (PNA)