BAGUIO CITY – The Department of Agriculture-Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-CAR) starred in the Kapihan sa Baguio segment of the Philippine Information Agency last June 7 to present its preparations with regards to the concerns and challenges being faced by the agency.
One of the mentioned challenges with given interventions is food security for which DA Regional Technical Director for Operations Danilo Daguio said that the Plant, Plant, Plant Program Part II has already been finalized, with its main objective to ensure local food security.
Further, “there are several activities listed in this plan and one of which is doon sa objective number one: intensifying local food production. Isang activity doon is to increase buffer stock (of rice) to at least 30 days. Yung present na buffer stocking natin (NFA) ay 8.6 days lang. So meaning, saan manggagaling ang buffer stock na ito? Part of the program, we will encourage the LGUs to do their own buffer stocking. Meaning they should be the one to buy the local produce of their constituents as buffer stock for their own province,” Daguio said.
He added that even then, DA Secretary William Dar has already been encouraging local governments to avail loan programs offered by the Landbank, citing Nueva Ecija as a model.
“Ang ginawa ng Nueva Ecija, sila ang bumibili directly from the farmers ng kanilang rice produced. Prina-process ‘yon, they have their own warehouse and post-harvest facilities. At ito ay binebenta doon sa mga institutions doon na nagbibigay ng rice allowance like the PNP, DSWD, mga gano’n. Unfortunately, dito sa CAR, walang nag-avail as of today. So ‘yon ang sagot doon. The local governments should take the lead in ensuring the buffer stock within their jurisdiction,” Dar stated.
Regional Executive Director Cameron Odsey also assured that CAR will not go hungry even with the food crisis we see happening today.
According to him, even in the highland areas of Cordillera where the poorer families are, they are still capable of producing their own food, hence they are food sufficient.
“It is either, they have their own rice field, they have their own uma, then they have their own backyard farms. So in terms of kung sila ba ay magugutom, hindi,” Odsey expressed.
Meanwhile, Farmer Cooperatives and Associations’ (FCA) representative Liby Ngaseo, who joined the Kapihan as a panel member, extended his gratitude to DA for their unending support.
He also thanked the provincial and municipal office of agriculture in facilitating the conduct of Good Agricultural Training (GAP) in their community. He then encouraged his co-farmers whose farms are not yet GAP Certified to join training on GAP as they can gain more knowledge on improving and making quality products for safer consumption.
At the end of his closing remark, Ngaseo further encouraged his fellow farmers to join the existing associations in their communities for them to be united in voicing their concerns and recommendations for the improvement of agriculture in the whole Cordillera.
By Jessa B. Mariano