Various government agencies led by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Wednesday with private organizations to improve market linkage for the farm products of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) in Caraga Region.
Organized under the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) program of DAR and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the MOU aims to increase the income of ARBs through their respective Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBOs) by establishing links to market their products to government institutions and private groups in the region.
This means that farm products of ARBOs in the region will now be marketed directly to jails managed by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), the Department of Education (DepEd) in their feeding program, the Department of Health (DOH) in government hospitals, and the network of private hospitals in the area through the Medical Mission Group (MMG).
The signing of the agreement at the Inland Almont Hotel here was witnessed by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles and DAR Undersecretary Emily Padilla.
The program is among the major services of DAR–in partnership with the DSWD–to end poverty and hunger at the grassroots levels, particularly among the farmer-beneficiaries of the agrarian reform program of the government.
“Strike while the iron is hot,” Padilla told the ARBs present during the signing ceremony, as she urged them to grab the opportunity that various agencies of the government can offer especially in the marketing of farm products.
“This is not only for us but for the future of our children,” Padilla added, thanking the various line agencies for supporting the program.
DAR-13 Director Leomides Villareal noted that the region’s ARBOs “are already engaged in different economic activities and livelihood projects. What they lack is the sure market. The hospitals, jails, and schools in the region are guaranteed markets where they can sell their products at better prices.”
Villareal added that the ARBOs involved have already undergone capability-building and productivity improvement training with the support of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in the area.
Credit support will also be provided to the ARBOs to increase capitalization through the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), he said.
In his message, Nograles pointed out that EPAHP’s ultimate goal is to help the farmers by linking their cooperatives and organizations to established markets.
“For years, the cycle of poverty has been affecting our farmers. Their farm products usually fall into the hands of middlemen and traders. Eventually, these middlemen and traders enrich themselves from the farm products of our farmers,” Nograles said.
“Now is the time to eradicate these practices and bring their products directly to the market or to buyers such as the hospitals, jails and through the feeding programs of the DepEd and the DSWD,” he added.
For this year, seven ARBOs from Agusan del Sur will link their products to the partner agencies that signed the MOU, two ARBOs in Agusan del Norte, and two each in Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur. (PNA)