LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The winners of the Young Farmers Challenge (YFC) and beneficiaries of the EnKADIWA grant program for Baguio City and Benguet province have been assured of support from the Cordillera office of the Department of Agriculture (DA-CAR).
This comes after Senator Imee Marcos’ recent visit and dialogue with the YFC winners and EnKADIWA grantees at Benguet State University where she highlighted the challenge of scaling-up in the production of agricultural goods.
Among the areas identified by the legislator that needs scaling up is in processing, packaging, supply chain, application of good manufacturing practices, preservation, dehydration, access to the digital platform, and identifying a market for their agricultural products aside from considering the economies of scale.
DA-CAR Regional Executive Director Cameron Odsey who met with the members and beneficiaries after their dialogue with the solon explained the importance of consolidating efforts between them and the government to earn better income from their produce.
“The resources of the government are limited and if the local government units offer training, then let’s take advantage of this. But let us all help each other by providing counterparts which is why we encourage individual farmers to join associations and cooperatives so that many would benefit from the programs and projects of the government,” Odsey said.
On the supply chain, Odsey encouraged the members and beneficiaries to submit a proposal to the DA coursed through the department secretary to review or set-up a Food Terminal Incorporated (FTI) or a similar facility where farmers can bring their products directly without passing through the many layers of middle traders resulting to farmers getting the least profit from their products.
For farm-to-market-roads (FMR), Odsey explained that local governments should have incorporated the list in their development plan following the DA criteria set.
“Number one is the production area wherein the service areas should be agriculture, second is that the engineering cost should not be so much. But the most important is that the Chief Executive of the LGU should have their list indicating their priorities which would be submitted to the DA to be validated,” the Director stated.
The YFC is a competitive financial grant assistance program attracting new agripreneurs which is open to all youth aged 18-30 years old with proposed innovative agri-business ventures potentially viable. The program provides business development services that include training and mentoring assistance, market linkage and business networking assistance in business and product registration and certification to the youth beneficiaries. The youth shall also be assisted in forming and registering Young Farmer’s Clubs/ Associations.
The Enhanced KADIWA inclusive Food Supply Chain Program of the DA aims to ensure the availability and accessibility of basic food commodities to vulnerable groups (poor or low-income groups) by harnessing private sector, farmers and communities’ participation in the food value chain.
Through this program, financial assistance grants are extended to farmers and fisherfolk cooperatives and associations that can act as assemblers and/or consolidators that can become reliable and efficient food commodity suppliers to consumers.