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Government Agencies Commit Continuous Help For Farmer Scholars

Government Agencies Commit Continuous Help For Farmer Scholars

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Officials from various government agencies committed assistance to the 72 farmers who graduated on Friday from the 14-week organic agriculture training provided by a major mall.

The farmers are from Camp 4 Tuba, Benguet; Bayabas Sablan, Benguet; and Barangay Happy Hollow in Baguio City.

“I am happy that the farmers are not just looking into the production of agricultural products but are also eyeing the processing of products for value adding and longer shelf life,” Felicitas Bandonill, Department of Trade and Industry-Benguet director said in her message during the event at SM City Baguio.

SM Foundation sponsored the sustainable agriculture training.

DTI’s one-town, one-product stores are among the platforms where the farmers can sell their produce.

Ameline Cabrera, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) – Cordillera assistant director for operations, said they continue to participate in initiatives, even of those from the private sector, to help improve the condition of the marginalized sector.

She said they have a financial and livelihood assistance program that farmers can access to improve their business venture and make their lives better.

Christie Angeles, SM Foundation assistant vice president for outreach, said the assistance to the farmers will not stop after the graduation.

“Today, DSWD will take over the management to the three farmers’ associations for organizing into formal groups that will allow them to have documents and papers, which will qualify them to do business mainstream as formal business people, associations and entrepreneurs,” she said.

Angeles noted that as formal business organizations, which will be registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Food and Drug Administration, the farmers will not need intermediaries to transact with their clients.

She said SM stores will also train the farmers in meeting specific requirements on how to pack their produce to be sold at the malls’ grocery branches

She cited that being a supplier for SM is one of the goals of the sustainable agriculture training, aside from capacitating the farmers’ organizations to become entrepreneurs capable of dealing with institutional buyers.

John Dizon, president of the Nagawa, Manganese, Liwliw, Saddle agroforestry association in Camp 4 Tuba said he grew up seeing his parents growing food the conventional way — using commercial fertilizer and pesticide.

“I saw the difference in terms of farm inputs and health benefits of eating vegetables unladen with chemicals and I really appreciate SM for approaching us and teaching us that food grown the natural way is possible,” he said in Ilocano.

He added that with the minimal expense incurred in their production and despite the laborious process in making organic fertilizer and pesticide, they can deliver food that are cheap and chemical-free. (PNA)