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DA marks farmers, fisherfolk month

To recognize the farmers and fisherfolk and their contributions to the region’s economy and food security in celebration of the Farmers and Fisherfolk’s Month, the Department of Agriculture Bicol conducted the Farmers Festival Cum Kadiwa sa DA on May 15, 2024 in Pili, Camarines Sur.

The activity kicked off with a Thanksgiving Mass in honor of St. Isidore, the patron saint of the DA and the farmers as well as the opening of the annual agri-trade fair led by DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Rodel Tornilla and Farmer Regional Executive Director Bernadette De Los Santos. About 49 exhibitors including DA Bicol’s Kadiwa partners, Young Farmers Challenge winners, Organic Agriculture Program practitioners, partner farmer and fisherfolk associations (FCAs), Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-assisted organizations, and exhibitors from the provincial local government units of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes and Masbate participated in the event.

As part of the celebration, DA Bicol held a “Pinaka” contest for four categories: Pinakamahaba (longest), Pinaka-malaki (biggest), Pinaka-mabigat (heaviest), and Pinaka-kakaiba (most unique) sponsored by the DA High Value Crops Development Program.

According to DA Bicol OIC-Regional Technical Director for Operations Dr. Mary Grace DP. Rodriguez, the Farmers’ Festival Cum Kadiwa sa DA serves as a platform to showcase the remarkable achievements of agricultural communities in the region. She added that it exemplifies the agency’s commitment to establish direct connections between farmers and consumers.

“Through Kadiwa, we forge stronger bonds between our agricultural community and the general public fostering a deeper appreciation for the value of the farmers’ labors,” she said.

She thanked the farmers and fisherfolk for their unwavering dedication, hardwork and resilience despite the impact of El Niño. She also acknowledged their contributions to the nation’s progress and assured them of DA Bicol’s continuous support to empower and uplift agricultural communities in the region.

For her part, Farmer-Director De Los Santos shared her journey to success as an agripreneur in partnership with the DA. She also underscored the role of the Agricultural and Fishery Council (AFC) in addressing issues and concerns besetting the agriculture sector particularly in bridging gaps between the government and the private sector.

“Lubos po ang pasasalamat ko. Unang-una sa Maykapal, pangalawa, sa ating patron saint na si St. Isidore, and of course, sa Department of Agriculture kasi nakikita ko bilang private individual kung gaano sila nagpupunyagi na bigyan tayo ng asistensya at intervention para umunlad ang ating pagsasaka at pangingisda,” she said.

Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) Director Joel V. Dator announced the proposed amendments to the Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law. The RTL created the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) fund, a P10 billion annual appropriation to support rice farmers.

“Gusto po namin isama lahat ng provinces na merong rice. In fact, ang schedule po ay tatagal ito for another six years. We are hoping na ito po ay mabigyan ng katuparan ng ating mga mambabatas,” he said.

He also mentioned that the DA PhilMech continues to implement the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Mechanization Program.

DA Bicol Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division Supervising Agriculturist Dr. Ma. Christina Campita, who represented AMAD Chief Adelina Losa, and AMAD Farmer Division Chief Claudia Esmeralda C. Honrado also recognized its Outstanding Kadiwa partners and 1st Certified and Accredited Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) Groups under the Organic Agriculture Program.

DA Bicol Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Division Chief Aloha Gigi I. Bañaria and Farmer PMED Chief Roy Nelson G. Layosa also awarded the Certificates of Accreditation to 13 newly-accredited CSOs during the event.

May is declared as Farmers and Fisherfolks Month pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 33 series of 1989 signed by former President Corazon C. Aquino on March 21, 1989. This year’s theme “Magsasaka at Mangingisda, Katuwang Tungo sa Masaganang Bagong Pilipinas” highlights the agriculture sector’s role in attaining President Marcos administration’s brand of governance and leadership. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA RAFIS V)


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