61 farmers participate in scoping activity in Malapatan, Sarangani

To highlight the interventions needed to improve their production and income, 61 farmer members of Dlanog Farmers Association and Lamben Farmers Association participated in the appraisal and scoping activities of the bureau's PARTNERS (Participatory Agriculture and Fisheries R4D Technology Transfer toward Entrepreneurship and Sustainability) program in Malapatan, Sarangani on 13 July 2023.

DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research assistant director Joell H. Lales introduced the program and the vital role that farmers and fisherfolk associations play in all its stages.

“Unlike the traditional approach na ating nakasanayan, target ng PARTNERS program na gawing mas angkop ang mga programa para sa inyo [stakeholders] through this more grounded approach” Lales underscored.

DA-SOCCSKSARGEN Regional Technical Director Dr. Lorna P. Vilbar in her welcome remarks highlighted the national programs being cascaded at the municipal level, mentioning organic agriculture, rice, and corn programs. “Marami na tayong mga technologies na available. What we need to do is to consolidate, upscale, and commercialize these technologies for the benefit of our farmers.” RTD Vilbar emphasized.

On behalf of the local government unit, Malapatan municipal mayor Salway D. Sumbo, Jr. shared the various interventions that have been and will be implemented to address the needs of the agriculture and fisheries sector in the municipality. These include the on-going establishment of the Municipal Economic Development Office (MEDO). 

“Dahan dahan nating ginagawa ngayon at halos nasa 70% completed na ang ating MEDO. Layon ng opisinang ito na i-organize ang mga POs [Private Organizations] at FCAs sa Munisipalidad ng Malapatan at kami ay maglalaan ng pondo upang ang munisipyo na mismo ang bibili ng kanilang mga produkto at kami na mismo ang maghahanap ng market”, Mayor Sumbo said as he also shared that the LGU is planning to invest in storage and processing facilities as one of the key investments needed in the municipal agricultural sector.

Ms. Evelyn G. Taluno, President of the Dlanog Farmers Association and Mr. Macario S. Calibay, President of the Lamben Farmers Association presented the profiles and existing activities of their respective associations. Dlanog FA is focused on rice, corn, banana,and poultry chicken production while Lamben FA is into rice, corn, and vegetables.

Two breakout sessions facilitated by DA-BAR and DA-SOCCSKSARGEN  were conducted wherein the FCAs identified needed interventions vis-a-vis their respective priority commodities in areas such as  fertilization, pests and diseases control; postharvest facilities; technologies for integrated farming systems; improvement of market linkages; provision of farm inputs and machineries; farm to market roads; and access to irrigation.

The activities were also attended by other officials and staff of DA-SOCCSKSARGEN, LGU of Malapatan, barangay officials of Lun Masla led by Mr. Gadwin L. Saludes, and the DA-Field Operations Division-Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-FOD-SAAD).  DA-BAR technical staff Alvin Fontanil, John Arvin dela Cruz and Chiqui Padullon facilitated the workshop and discussed the ways forward of the activity.

The PARTNERS program aims to bring tailor-fitted interventions to stakeholders in areas with low productivity and high poverty incidence through proactive engagement of farmers and fisherfolk and strengthened collaboration among stakeholders in achieving an inclusive development. (### John Arvin dela Cruz and Maria Ruby Lumongsod)