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Farmer groups supply food products to hospital, jails

Nine agrarian reform farmers’ organizations (ARBOs) based in Sorsogon will continue to supply food products to government-run institutions and a private hospital in the province this year, as they did last year.

The supply agreement resulted after a successful partnership in 2021 among the ARBOs, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Sorsogon Medical Mission Group Hospital and Health Services Cooperative (SMMGHHSC), and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

Salvacion Farmers Development Cooperative (SAFADECO), Capuy-Basud Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CABAMUCO), and Jupi-San Vicente Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries and Farmer Association (JUSAVARBEFA) of Gubat forged a deal with BJMP, while the remaining six coops renewed their marketing contracts with SMMGHHSC.

These ARBOs include Sogoy Natural Agricultural Grower (SINAG) and Mayon Farmers Association (MAFA) in Castilla, Sorsogon; Agro-Aquatic Development Cooperative (SAADECO) and Maharlika Development Cooperative (MADECO) in Sorsogon City; and Calateo Farmers Association (CAFA) and Gubat Special ARC Farmers Association (GSARCFA) in Gubat town.

DAR Sorsogon chief Nida A. Santiago said these DAR-assisted ARBOs earned around P 685,000 last year from milled rice, home-made food, and vegetables grown on their farms.

FOOD SUPPLY PACT Officials of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBO), Bureau of Jail and Management and a private hospital show the agreement for the supply of food products by ARBOs to the BJMP facilities and the private hospital. Seated from Left: Lourdes B. Diaz, DTI-Sorsogon; Atty. Jessica Samantha D. Acleta, CEO-SAFADECO; Liza Repotente, DAR-Chief for Support Services; Dr. Roland B. Hermo, CEO-SMMGHHCS; JINSP Samuel Mirandilla, Gubat District Jail Warden; SJO1 Rogelio Diaz, representing Atty. Rodolfo Versoza, Jr., Sorsogon City District Jail Warden, and SJO4 Randy Cerdina, Irosin District Jail Warden.

Santiago said the farmers were able to meet the agricultural product requirements of the Sorsogon City jail, Gubat district jail, and Irosin district jail, which included eggs, sweet potatoes, cassava, vegetables such as bottle gourd (upo), eggplant, cucumber, bitter gourd (ampalaya), and stringbeans, as well as processed meats such as longganisa, tocino, and lumpia.

She said that over 100 sacks of rice were provided by MAFA to SMMGHHSC aside from 10 sacks of rice per month from SAADECO and CABAMUCO.

“This kind of collaboration is an opportunity for our ARBOs to showcase their products and expand their market opportunities. We thank our partners for this opportunity,” Santiago added.

“Our jails are considered the transition homes for our PDLs. They may have been judged for final judgment regarding offenses punishable by law, but still, we should not deprive them of their basic need for nutritious and healthy food,” said Senior Jail Officer 4 Randy A. Cerdiña, who committed to regularly buy more food supplies from the agrarian reform farmers.

Dr. Roland Hermo of SMMGHHSC believed that the marketing options given to these organizations will spur economic activity in the communities where they are located.

“Likewise, it will increase farmers’ farm production and household income owing to the market demand of institutional buyers,” he added.

Under the terms, farmers will supply the institutional buyers with a year’s worth of rice, vegetables, root crops, and other food necessities. On the other hand, the latter has to specify what they need and pay for the deliveries in cash.

The collaboration is part of the government’s Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPaHP) program, which aims to provide food security and nutrition to the poor and enhance agricultural production.

The signing of the memorandum of agreement was held on Feb. 15, 2022 in Sorsogon City.

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