The “Plant, Plant, Plant” program is said to be the initiative of Agriculture Secretary William Dar, which is an “answer to the COVID-19 crisis” through improving the country’s “food adequacy during the emergency situation.”
“Ito ang isang tool natin para patayin itong COVID which is agricultural production. We keep the people healthy and in good nutrition,” Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon said.
“In the case of Sarangani,” Mangelen said, “mayroon tayong ibibigay na number of hybrid and certified seeds ng palay, mga fertilizers, at the same time meron din tayong in-allocate na OPV na corn seeds.”
Mangelen said part of the rice seeds distribution to the farmers is also the “insurance para sa kanilang cropping. Ibig sabihin minabuti natin na ma-include ang insurance para may proteksyon ang ating mga magsasaka, na kahit na meron pang mga darating na unos or mga calamities, meron silang corresponding na collectible out of their farming.”
“Dito po nakaconcentrate yung ating program sa palay farming, kasi ang major food production natin dito sa region is rice,” he said.
Also part of the program is the giving out of “livestock na pwedeng source of livelihood” and distribution of vegetable seeds for “backyard gardening ng mga household na naipit sa COVID-19.”
“KADIWA ni Ani at Kita” or “KADIWA on wheels”, a “market system which sells major agricultural goods at reasonably low prices to help poor Filipino households,” will also be going around the region.
“So nagpo-provide tayo ng mga basic commodities, dinadala natin sa mga different municipalities na strategically na-identify na natin, para to make it sure na lahat po ng pagkain dito sa Region XII, including Sarangani ay available, accessible, at affordable,” Mangelen added.
KADIWA on wheels has already been implemented in Maasim and Malungon.
Also, a P5,000 financial assistance will be distributed to farmer beneficiaries affected by the Rice Tariffication Law, which “caused the sudden lowering of palay price that resulted to huge income losses for rice farmers.”
Mangelen disclosed that the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RFFA) program will specifically cater to “smallholder rice farmers” whose farm size ranges from 0.5 – 2.0 hectares.
According to Provincial Agriculturist Jonathan Duhaylungsod, in Sarangani there are 3,800 farmer beneficiaries endorsed for the RFFA program but only 2,544 of them have qualified through the “RSBSA system of DA.”
Initially, 966 beneficiaries of the 2,544 have already been given the P5,000 cash assistance thru Pera Padala, while the rest is yet to be distributed through Landbank.
“We already asked consideration para sa remaining 1,000 plus farmers na matagaan pod sila, so we hope na mahimo sa mga LGU ilang part as well,” Duhaylungsod said.
“Sa province, naa pod tay gi-procure na vegetable seeds, corn seeds, and nagprepare na ta ug mga planting materials for the rainy season. And we hope na ma-provide nato ang mga trainings sa technology para sa atong mga farmers,” he added.
Duhaylungsod said the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) also has a program wherein “the farmer recipient ay i-encourage na magtanim” then the PCA will conduct an inspection to the “stabilized banana plants in the field” and will then be given incentives.
On the other hand, RD Mangelen pointed out that the government also has programs for the fisher folks through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), which is also under the banner of the Department of Agriculture.
Furthermore, Mangelen calls out to the public that “meron po tayong food sufficiency, ibig sabihin sufficient pa po yung mga pagkain natin dito sa entire region. Be it basic commodities na isda, gulay, sugar, rice, corn, meron po tayo dito sa entire Region XII.”
He clarifies the issues or information on shortage, is just a “distortion lang ng tinatawag natin na supply and demand.”
“Food supply natin dito is enough, kumpara sa demand ng ating mga consumers. Wala ho tayong dapat ikabahala,” he added. (Jori Mae Samillano/SARANGANI PROVINCIAL INFORMATION OFFICE)