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Liloan Farmers Agriculture Cooperative
The Liloan Farmers Agriculture Cooperative in coordination with the local government unit holds mobile market to sell their products all over the town. (Photo by Febe Marie Bersabal)

Agrarian reform beneficiary organizations generate P22.9M in sales during quarantine

May 5, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – Despite the implementation of community quarantine throughout the country for several weeks now, 104 agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) in Eastern Visayas generated a combined gross sales of P22,928,460.00.

This period covers from the last week of March, where most of the local government units started enforcing their respective community quarantines, up to the third week of April this year.

Regional Director Stephen Leonidas of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) was impressed with the determination of these farmers to survive amid this global crisis caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Members of the said DAR-assisted farmer organizations continue with their farm activities and marketing of their harvests despite the current situation.

As assistance to them during this hard and trying times, Leonidas disclosed that DAR has provided 119 ARBOs throughout the region with quarantine accreditation pass to have access in checkpoints, which was authorized by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID), for the continuous supply of agricultural products.

Leonidas said, these farmers did not only earn income during the quarantine period but contributed to the sustainability of food supply in the region.

Based on the DAR monitoring report, of the 104 ARBOs who continued with their marketing activities to supply food, 33 are in the province of Leyte; 21 in Eastern Samar; 20 in Samar; 15 in Northern Samar; eight in Southern Leyte; and seven in Biliran.

Among these ARBOs are the MAALSADA FISCO based in Alangalang town, and the Paglaum Farmers Association based in this city.

The MAALSADA FISCO continued to supply over 6,000 kilos of milled rice to the Eastern Visayas Medical Center (EVRMC); while the Paglaum Farmers Association delivered some 3,000 kilos of assorted vegetables to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

Both ARBOs are recipients of marketing tie-up arrangements facilitated by DAR under the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) program.

In Samar, the local government unit (LGU) of Calbiga purchases all the harvests of the Calbiga Vegetable Growers Association, Panayuran Upland Farmers Association, Brgy. Bulao Farmers Association, Canbagtic Farmers Association, and the Borong Active Farmers Association to give variation to the canned goods commonly given during distribution of relief assistance for the town’s residents.

In Southern Leyte, the Liloan Farmers Agriculture Cooperative conducts a mobile market around the municipality of Liloan in coordination with the LGU to sell their products composed of milled-rice and various types of vegetables harvested under the Linking Smallholder Farmers to the Market with Microfinance (LinkSFarMM) program. This is to lessen the movement of people and avoid mass gathering in the market.

Meanwhile, in the province of Biliran, the BSF Farm Workers and Beneficiaries Agrarian Reform Cooperative based in Biliran town and the Anislagan Ceramic Agrarian Reform Cooperative based in the municipality of Naval continue to supply fresh eggs, from the egg layering livelihood they availed under the Convergence of Livelihood Assistance for ARBs Project (CLAAP), to their clients.

In his Facebook comment, Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones described the farmers as “silent frontliners” against COVID-19.