The pandemic even tightened the commitment of the RCI Central Visayas to deliver the programs and projects in order to achieve the two-pronged goal of the NCI-SRD— reduce poverty and increase the income of farmers and fisherfolk.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the RCI Central Visayas extends programs to the farmers and constituents of the Carood Watershed Convergence Area. The lockdown of borders and the closure of food establishments resulted in a decrease in the demand for agricultural products which had a negative effect on the farmers’ income. To keep the financial resources of farmers afloat in these difficult times, the convergence agencies have created assistance programs to pump up the financial resources of marginal farmers.
Atty. Salvador Diputado, DA Regional Executive Director and chairperson of the RCI Central Luzon, said that more than 20,000 farmers in Carood received a grant of P5T each during the height of the pandemic in May to assist rice farmers who till one hectare or less from the DA.
Jose Duites of Barangay Boyoan, Candijay, said that he used the cash assistance to buy farm inputs and other personal needs during the quarantine period. He added that it was a big help to him who was affected during the lockdown.
Knowing that the agriculture sector plays an important role in the recovery efforts of the Philippine economy during the pandemic, the DA through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) approved loan assistance to marginal farmers and fisherfolk.
Feve Villa, 54 years old from Ubay, Bohol, has 12 children and she tills a half-hectare farm. She said she did not recover her losses from an investment on a fishpond. Since the DA offered the SURE-Aid Recovery Project in support of the Plant, Plant, Plant Program, she took the opportunity to avail of the P25T loan to invest in rice farming.Adding the list of agencies granting deliverables to the Carood areas is the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) which conducted training on organic agriculture in the municipalities of Pilar and Guindulman to 26 farmers who later on shared their knowledge with 500 other farmers. All 500 farmers received starter kits to plant vegetables.