December 4, 2022

MACHINERIES AND EQUIPMENT FOR FARMERS — Close to 50 farmers’ groups and associations in La Trinidad, Benguet benefitted the P5 million worth of machineries and equipment funded through the initiative of former Sen. Francisco Pangilinan for Benguet, Apayao, Abra, and Ifugao. The beneficiaries in La Trinidad have acknowledged the efforts of former Benguet Board Member Nestor Fongwan, Jr. in requesting the provision of assistance for their groups. — Contributed photo

A total of 223 farmers groups from Abra, Apayao, Benguet and Ifugao received P21 million worth of agricultural machinery and equipment on Nov. 8.
Department of Agriculture-Cordillera headed by Executive Director Cameron Odsey led the turnover ceremony of the program under the High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) of DA-CAR.
The turnover of machinery and equipment was made possible through former Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.
The turned over tools include 93 units of multi-cultivator, 212 units of power sprayer, 88 units of grass cutter, and 20 units of mini-chainsaw, which are seen to increase production while lowering labor cost.
In Benguet, 45 farmer organizations including cut flower growers, coffee growers, and high value crop growers from La Trinidad received the much-needed sets of equipment. 
Former Benguet Board Member Nestor Fongwan, Jr. initiated the request for machinery and equipment when he personally communicated to Pangilinan. 
For these tools to be effective, Odsey has urged the farmers to learn how to get data from their farms.
“This is a great assistance to our farmers yielding high value crops. To the farmers who will use these tools, endeavor to learn how to get and use data, for this will be of good advantage as your basis for future expansions,” Odsey said.
He hopes with the tools, farmers would not only rely on manual methods but on technology to improve production. 
Odsey said the present administration fully supports the HVCDP considering that 80 percent of vegetable production from the Cordillera are shipped to Metro Manila and other lowland provinces.
The value of highland vegetables being sold including their consumption values is estimated at P15 billion to 20B a year.
Meanwhile, Pangilinan also addressed the farmers and fisherfolks via Zoom, commending them for their efforts in providing food sufficiency.
“This P21M is just one of the many efforts to support our farmers and fisher folks. We are together in this effort to really bring about genuine change for our farmers and fisherfolks,” Pangilinan said.
Also present during the turnover were Apayao Provincial Agriculturist Prudencio Bosing; Ifugao Provincial Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Officer Domingo Mariano; Councilor Serafin Alzate of Bangued, Abra; and Fongwan, who thanked the former senator and the DA for bringing assistance to the farmers. – Ofelia C. Empian