Photo of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (DAR)
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in the province of Batangas disclosed that even with the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) last March, due to the crisis caused by Coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19), the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in this province still generated P2.27-million income.
Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Merle H. Manalo said the ARBs still managed to earn because of their diligence. This, despite the continuous crises they have experienced since the beginning of the year, when a wide portion of the area were buried with heavy ash falls damaging their crops due to the Taal Volcano eruption. Livestock and poultry production enterprises also suffered losses as huge population of livestock, swine and poultry perished.
“Now faced with the Covid-19 crisis, the DAR-Batangas provincial office came to their rescue, by assisting the ARBs in the marketing and selling of their farm produce to various consumers. The DAR had so far issued twenty-eight (28) Quarantine Accreditation Passes (QAPs) to enable ARBs to continue supplying agricultural products to critical areas affected by the ECQ,” Manalo said.
Manalo said the QAPs enables the farmer-beneficiaries to be economically sustainable as it allows them to transport their farm yields to various markets despite lockdowns in other areas.
“The province’s major crop and main source of income is sugarcane. Their other sources of income include livestock, poultry, and fruit trees mainly mangoes, tamarind, citrus, banana in pocket areas scattered around the provincial landscape. Selling of their other products does not need the issuance QAPs since the volume do not require consolidation in large quantities. The farmer-producers of vegetables in this province were already linked to suppliers of small market vendors in the locality,” Manalo said.
Manalo added that of the total sales of P 2.27- million, P 694,818.00 were from sales produced by ARB Organizations (ARBOs) assisted by the Convergence on Livelihood Assistance for Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Project or CLAAP Project, a partnership project between the DAR and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The DAR-Batangas also issued agrarian reform beneficiaries identification cards (ARB IDs) to the farmer-beneficiaries of this province for the purpose of ensuring that they will be receiving the benefits under the social amelioration programs of the DSWD, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Labor and Employment, and the concerned local government units.
Manalo said their office also ensures that the 3,485 ARBs in the province would all receive amelioration support packages.