Department of Agriculture (DA), led by Secretary William D. Dar, awarded a total of P205-million worth of agricultural inputs, projects, and facilities to farmers, farmers’ organizations, and local government units (LGUs) in Batangas on January 23, 2021, held at the International Training Center on Pig Husbandry in Lipa City, Batangas.

DA CALABARZON, headed by OIC-Regional Executive Director Ms. Vilma M. Dimaculangan, turned over a total of P128.4 million to farmers’ groups and LGUs in Batangas.

Under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act II (Bayanihan II) Stimulus Package for Agriculture’s Enhanced KADIWA Inclusive Food Supply Chain Program, Southern Luzon Farmers and Traders’ Agriculture Cooperative received P2.5 million Samahan ng Maggagatas ng Batangas Cooperative was awarded P1 million, and SALABAN II Women’s Multi-Purpose Cooperative took home P300,000.

Still funded through Bayanihan II, Batangas’ provincial government received P50 million for the Batangas Provincial Agricultural Trading Center. Meanwhile, the city government of Tanauan received P50 million for the upgrading of the Tanauan City Trading Post.

Moreover, the regional office’s banner programs awarded the city governments of Batangas and Tanauan P3.6 million and P5.8 million, respectively. The municipal government of San Jose, and the city government of Sto. Tomas and Lipa were also allocated with P1.7 million, P3.4 million, and P7.2 million, respectively, from DA CALABARZON banner programs.

The Agricultural Credit Policy Council granted agricultural loans under Bayanihan II for the benefits of small farmers, fisherfolks, and agri-fishery-based Micro Small Enterprises through Mount Carmel Rural Bank, Inc. (P45 million) and Yakap at Halik Multi-Purpose Cooperative (P30 million), worth a total of P75 million. This loan has 10 years pay policy with zero interest rate.

Subsequently, the Philippine Crop Insurance Center awarded indemnification worth P1.08 million to farmers whose livelihoods were affected by recent calamities.

In his speech, Secretary Dar proudly announced the agriculture sector’s success in 2020 despite the many adversaries such as the infestation of the African Swine Fever, the explosion of Taal Volcano, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the streak of destructive weather disturbances. The Secretary noted that the sector achieved this win because of our farmers, fishers, and other agricultural stakeholders’ hard work and resilience.

In response, this 2021, the Secretary implements the One DA holistic approach wherein he developed 12 key strategies to strengthen further and improve the agriculture sector.

“We would like to start early in the game, and we would like to start right. By following this One DA approach, nakasisiguro ako na aangat pa ang sektor ng agrikultura,” Secretary Dar said.

During his message, the Secretary praised the adept work of DA CALABARZON and other attached agencies to help the farmers and fishers across the region. He then gave his directives to all the DA family’s regional directors to address ASF problems, calamities, and the pandemic following One DA’s 12 key strategies.

Representatives from the Regional Agricultural and Fisheries Council, Agricultural Training Institute CALABARZON, Bureau of Animal Industry, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources IV-A, Sugar Regulatory Authority, and Batangas Egg Producers’ Cooperative, among many other participants, have witnessed today’s awarding ceremony of various interventions and projects. โ— (MAP, DA-RAFIS)