“Malaki ang pasasalamat namin sa Department of Agriculture dahil hindi lang kami binigyan ng isda kung hindi tinuruan din kami kung paano mangisda,” Henry Michael “Boy” Doliguez said.

A nurse turned farmer and president of Kalipunan ng mga Magsasaka ng Patnongon (KAMAPAT), Henry Michael “Boy” Doliguez, relayed that their primary aim is to shift farmers’ glance at agriculture as a profitable enterprise. Farmers in Patnongon, Antique decry soaring prices of farm inputs, low availability of free seeds and fertilizer, and plunging farm-gate value of their hard-labored commodities. KAMAPAT inculcated in the perspectives of every Patnongon farmer the need to treat farming as a business to gain economic upheaval in their communities. Formed in December 2018, KAMAPAT had ever since extending production and marketing help for farmers to upscale their farming pursuits.

“The KAMAPAT, just like the other federation of farmers, in the beginning, was struggling in finding means and opportunities that would help the farmers in Patnongon. We started by organizing the officers and having a partnership with the different offices, particularly the DA and KOICA, that provided us enhanced ways of farming,” he added.

The Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) worked complementarily to attain a more efficient way of managing and using land and coastal resources in Antique. Through the National Convergence Initiatives for Sustainable Rural Development (NCI-SRD), they carried careful planning and projections to create a more solid project framework for developing farming and fishery sectors in the province. For years, the NCI-SRD strong collaborations paved the way for the smooth implementation of the Korea International Cooperation Agency’s (KOICA) Panay Island Upland Sustainable Rural Development (PIU-SRDP) in Antique.

“We do not want our farmers and consumers to be abused further by the middlemen and traders. We are grateful to DA and KOICA for selecting our town as among the recipients of the Bayanihan Tipon Center (BTC) that now functions as the consolidation and marketing hub for both upland and lowland products of our farmers,” said Doliguez.

With the initial trading capital from KOICA, BTC Patnongon has been buying palay, corn, copra, root crops, and vegetables produced by the farmers in lowland and upland areas in the town and neighboring localities.

Certainly, KAMAPAT will continue to cascade best practices and multiply the privileges and support they gained from the DA and other agencies. Their vision of helping the communities grow amid the global health emergency and other sectoral concerns guides them.

NCI-SRD helped not only the farmer-members of the KAMAPAT in the marketing aspect. It also laid the foundation for the construction of the Agricultural Tramline System in one barangay in Patnongon. The tramline funded and put up by the DA’s Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) had eased the hauling of various farm products from the hinterlands to the BTC Patnongon. Likewise, the DA, DAR, DENR, DILG, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, with the support of the Patnongon municipal government, sustain the mangrove rehabilitation project in several barangays, which aided in improving the environmental biodiversity and increasing the availability of coastal resources. NCI-SRD led innovations in Patnongon, and it adheres to the locality’s attempt to secure food adequacy through the ridge-to-reef framework.