DAR, Kabankalan LGU partner to fight hunger and poverty

Still reeling from the impacts of Covid-19 pandemic and Typhoon “Odette,” farmers from Kabankalan, Negros Occidental, are getting a much-needed boost from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the local government unit (LGU) of Kabankalan.

The DAR and Kabankalan LGU have strengthened the campaign against hunger and poverty in the area, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding for the implementation of the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) program.

DAR Western Visayas Assistant Regional Director Lucrecia Taberna said under the program, the agency will help the members of agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs), particularly the members of Sitio Flora Agrarian Reform Cooperative (SFARC) in Barangay Hilamonan, to link their products in different markets.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and Typhoon Odette had devastated our farmer-beneficiaries that even up to this day, they are still recovering and the agency has been exploring all possible alternatives to provide immediate assistance to our ARBOs,” Taberna said.

The EPAHP project is one of the programs, which has been so responsive to the needs of farmer-beneficiaries, particularly during those affected by catastrophes.

Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Arnulfo Figueroa said the essential goal of the EPAHP is to strategically reduce hunger and improve the nutritional status of targeted beneficiaries.

“The program also aims to help our beneficiaries increase their income through Support to Agro-Enterprise Development and other related livelihood programs to improve their production technology and facilities,” Figueroa said.

Under the said agreement, DAR and Kabankalan LGU agreed to provide P340,000 worth of hard and soft components of the project.

These include P240,000 worth of support facilities and equipment such as swine housing with biogas digester, 1,000-liter overhead polyethylene tank, vermin housing, and 1.0 HP electric motor pump from deep well to tank.

Meanwhile, P100,000 will be allocated by the DAR for business development services such as the conduct of project technology-related training and the purchase of office supplies.

Kabankalan Municipal Mayor Pedro Zayco committed to contributing P75,000 as the city’s counterpart to be allocated for labor expenses.

The local government of Kabankalan has identified several support services for local farmers.

To help them, Zayco vowed to provide free seedlings and to allocate more funds for the purchase of fertilizers.

Chairman of SFARC Francisco de Guzman expressed his gratitude to the agency, saying that without the DAR, the farmers could not hurdle the challenges.

“We are here, reaping the fruits of our soil, because of the programs and bundles of support services from the DAR. We are very lucky,” de Guzman said.