Beyond Buzzwords: Transforming Philippine Agriculture!

Batangas farmers’ coop to receive P4M budget for moringa project

Author: DA Communications Group | 19 May 2022

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar convened with farmer-members of the Malvar Organic Farmers Agriculture Cooperative (MOFAC) on May 19, 2022 to discuss the latter’s proposals featuring organic high-value crops production, clustering and consolidation, and grassroots farming.

During the meeting, the Secretary approved a budget of P4 million (M) for MOFAC’s moringa project in Batangas through the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) and the DA-Regional Field Office (RFO) IV-A of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The project calls for the establishment of a nursery for malunggay seedlings, which will be distributed along with organic fertilizers and inputs to participating 150 to 200 farmers, and the provision of proper training on processing technologies for dry food grade malunggay powder and dried malunggay leaves.

MOFAC also pitched the P20.2 M Vanilla Project, which will pilot in Malvar. It also presented its P3.71M Bayanihan Agribusiness Cluster proposed project, which will benefit about 150 farmers from Malvar in its initial phase.

Dr. Reynaldo Lantin, chairman of the MOFAC, expressed his gratitude to the DA for responding positively to their proposals.

“The importance [of the projects] is basically ‘yong upliftment of the farmers, poor farmers especially, because of this cooperative. Through this cooperative, their production will be boosted and their income will be increased. We catalyze, we stimulate the farmers,” Lantin said.

Secretary Dar reminded the MOFAC members the need for agricultural projects that are in line with the Plant, Plant, Plant Program Part 2 (PPP Part 2), which was implemented in March 2022 to counter the impacts of the Ukraine-Russia crisis and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Secretary stressed that with the crisis resulting in the surge of farm input prices, the current fertilizer levels used by the local farmers especially for rice production may not be sustained, resulting to a decline of 1.1 million metric tons in production.

“Itong next six months will be more critical. Pumapalo na ‘yong pagtaas ng inflation. It’s now reaching 4%. So there is global inflation and recession; the stagflation is there. So ‘yan lahat, imi-mitigate natin for agriculture,” the agri chief explained.

The PPP Part 2 mainly focuses on responding to the high fertilizer prices, promoting urban and peri-urban agriculture, enhancing local feed production using raw materials, boosting aquaculture and fisheries, and mobilizing food through the KADIWA ni Ani at Kita.

Some of the Department’s current efforts in relation to the program include the distribution of the P20-B fertilizer subsidy, scaling up of balanced fertilization strategy, use of coconut wastes and other raw materials for feeds production, and the allotment of P90 M budget from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for the production of aqua feeds by the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC), to name a few.

The DA Secretary further instructed MOFAC to document possible technologies to ensure that the focus areas are being met, as well as to take note of agri-fishery components that need scaling up to brace for the impacts of both the pandemic and the crisis in Ukraine. ### (Krystelle Ymari A. Vergara, DA-AFID)

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