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Farmers: ‘We want to earn more from our hard work’

| by: Xerxes Alkuino

Some members of Barangay Taloot (Argao) Farmers Association headed by Lucreciano Alberca recently met Governor Hilario P. Davide III to ask for farming inputs.

Alberca said his organization is asking for Php 50,000 financial aid to buy inorganic fertilizers. The group also asked for vermicast organic fertilizers. These will be distributed among the 37 members of the newly-formed association.

Alberca said the assistance will be a big help for the association. He said that, like all other people, they also have a “dream not only to be able eat three times a week but to be able earn extra money from their hard work.”

He said their current production is only enough for their own consumption. All of them are still in the phase one of Farmer-Scientist Training Program of the Capitol. This is where they are still being introduced to and experiment the scientific formula of farming.

In a related development, Davide was given green light by the Provincial Board (PB) to acquire fertilizers in an effort to fuel organic farming in Cebu.

PB Member Grecilda Sanchez sponsored two resolutions during last Monday’s (Sept. 8) session, authorizing the governor to purchase Php 4,340,000 worth of organic fertilizers.

The amount is already part of the Php 10 million downloaded earlier by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to support the Capitol’s organic farming.

The fund came from the “Plant Now Pay Later” program of then DA Secretary Arthur Yap.

Last August 18, the board also authorized the governor to enter into a memorandum of agreement with DA to change the project scheme.

Instead of asking for payment, the Capitol made the program into a pure grant for the farmers. This is due to the recent calamities that hit last year, especially in the northern Cebu.

“Our farmers have not yet fully recovered from the calamities. So instead of asking them to pay later on, it will now be given purely as a grant,” said Office of the Provincial Agriculturist Officer-in-Charge Dr. Roldan Saragena in an earlier interview.

The beneficiaries of the program will be the members of farmers associations as identified by the local government units.

Dr. Saragena said the program has dual purpose. One is to promote organic farming in the province, and to empower the farmers associations to venture into agri-enterprise.

The Capitol promotes organic farming in order for the famers to adopt a sustainable agri-technology that is environment-friendly and fit for human consumption.

For Alberca, however, he said they cannot leave behind inorganic fertilizers yet due to the poor quality of soil in their farms.