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A total of 45 farmer-representatives from the Taal-affected municipalities of San Nicolas, Agoncillo, and Laurel in Batangas received various agricultural inputs from Department of Agriculture (DA) Region IV-CALABARZON.

The activity is part of the ongoing implementation of the Taal Recovery and Rehabilitation Program, which utilizes the DA Quick Response Fund to help revive the livelihoods of the farmer-beneficiaries.

The P43.8-million worth of agricultural interventions include budded calamansi, guyabano, lanzones, hybrid white corn seeds, and cacao seedlings; banana sucker, plant growth enhancer, organic fertilizer, agricultural lime, vermicast, complete fertilizer, muriate of potash, and urea fertilizer; cattle, carabao, goat, and broiler and native chicken; plastic crates; pruning shear; and knapsack sprayer.

According to Regional Director Arnel V. de Mesa, food security and sustainability targets must not be derailed despite the Taal Volcano eruption, COVID-19, and African swine fever (ASF) challenges that have hit the region. He also extended his sympathy to Batangueño farmers and committed the Agency’s full support for the implementation of agricultural programs in the province.

“The Taal Recovery and Rehabilitation Program is one of our ways of helping Taal-affected farmers to recover and ensure that they achieve bountiful harvests and increased income,” Director de Mesa said.

Engr. Pablito A. Balantac, Provincial Agriculturist of Batangas, together with mayors Lester de Sagun, Daniel Reyes, and Joan Amo, of San Nicolas, Agoncillo, and Laurel, respectively, were all very grateful that DA CALABARZON has always supported the needs of farmers in the province of Batangas.

“Kaming pong mga mamamayan ng Batangas ay lubos na nagpapasalamat sa DA sa inyong mga biyayang ibinibigay na makakatulong sa aming pagtatanim upang kami ay makaahon sa pagputok ng bulkang Taal at sa COVID-19. Maraming salamat po DA,” shared Mr. Celso Abrenica, a vegetable farmer from San Nicolas.

Director de Mesa reminded everyone that “the region of CALABARZON has experienced extreme challenges since last year with ASF; on the brighter side, more people have realized the importance of agriculture, especially food security.” ● (JAPE, DA-RAFIS)