What was supposed to be a simple turnover of the last tranche of interventions for this year turned out to be a surprise for the farmer-beneficiaries from the far-flung hills of Bagulin, La Union.

On December 28, 2023, members of the Sinabugan Farmers’ Association from Sitio Sinabugan in Barangay Tio-angan, Bagulin, are supposed to receive only the additional farm inputs as part of their livelihood projects under the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program Phase 2, which include two forage choppers, trowels, sprinklers, and mineral blocks (for livestock).

However, during the distribution, Bagulin Municipal Agriculturist, Engr. Juvy Sagapan informed that their Interventions Monitoring Cards (IMC) for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund – Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA) are already funded and ready to be released for the farmers present during the event.

“𝑀𝑎𝑟𝑎𝑔𝑠𝑎𝑘𝑎𝑛𝑎𝑘 𝑡𝑎 𝑛𝑎𝑖𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑟𝑎𝑛𝑎 𝑎 𝑏𝑖𝑚𝑚𝑎𝑏𝑎 𝑑𝑎𝑔𝑖𝑡𝑖 𝑓𝑎𝑟𝑚𝑒𝑟𝑠-𝑡𝑎𝑦𝑜 𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑖𝑝𝑢𝑑 𝑏𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑦 𝑘𝑒𝑡 𝑎𝑝𝑎𝑔-𝑖𝑠𝑢 𝑛𝑔𝑎 𝑎𝑑𝑑𝑎 𝑔𝑎𝑦𝑎𝑚 𝑡𝑖 𝑝𝑜𝑛𝑑𝑜 𝑑𝑎𝑔𝑖𝑑𝑖𝑎𝑦 [𝐼𝑀𝐶] 𝑐𝑎𝑟𝑑𝑠-𝑑𝑎𝑛, 𝑢𝑟𝑎𝑦 𝑘𝑎𝑠𝑘𝑎𝑠𝑎𝑛𝑜 𝑘𝑒𝑡 𝑎𝑑𝑑𝑎 𝑡𝑖 𝑠𝑎𝑔𝑢𝑡 𝑎 𝑛𝑎𝑎𝑤𝑎𝑡𝑑𝑎 𝑖𝑡𝑖 𝑢𝑚𝑎𝑦 𝑎 𝑏𝑎𝑟𝑜 𝑎 𝑡𝑎𝑤𝑒𝑛. 𝐷𝑎𝑘𝑘𝑒𝑙 𝑚𝑒𝑡 𝑡𝑖 𝑝𝑎𝑛𝑎𝑔𝑦𝑎𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑘𝑜 𝑡𝑎 𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙 𝑛𝑔𝑎 𝑖𝑚𝑚𝑎𝑦 𝑛𝑖 𝐷𝑖𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 𝑛𝑔𝑎 𝑖𝑠𝑢 𝑡𝑖 𝑛𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑖𝑦𝑒𝑔 𝑘𝑎𝑑𝑎𝑔𝑖𝑡𝑜𝑦 𝑎 𝑡𝑢𝑙𝑜𝑛𝑔, 𝑙𝑎𝑙𝑜 𝑖𝑡𝑖 𝑆𝑖𝑛𝑎𝑏𝑢𝑔𝑎𝑛 𝑓𝑎𝑟𝑚𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑡𝑎 𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑜𝑑𝑎 𝑎 𝑡𝑎𝑙𝑎𝑔𝑎 𝑎 𝑚𝑎𝑘𝑎𝑎𝑤𝑎𝑡 𝑖𝑡𝑖 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑡𝑎 𝑎𝑑𝑎𝑦𝑜 𝑔𝑎𝑚𝑖𝑛,” Sagapan said.

[I feel elated because coincidentally, they traveled down from their barrio to receive the interventions, and it so happened that their cash cards were already funded. This serves as an advance gift for the new year. I am also thankful to the Regional Director for personally handing over these farm inputs. Honestly, the Sinabugan farmers seldom receive interventions because of the distance of their area, so they are lucky because of SAAD.]

An unconditional cash transfer program from excess tariffs collected from the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL), the RFFA aims to provide P5,000 to rice farmers tilling two hectares and below.

In Bagulin, 1,791 farmers are recipients of the RFFA out of the 15,088 total recipients in the entire province of La Union.

DA-RFO1 Field Operations Division (FOD) Chief Ms. Analiza Ramos said that the town of Bagulin is the first municipality in La Union to receive the said assistance for 2023, and it is quite coincidental that today is also the last distribution of the final interventions for this year.

“Few days before the year ends, we feel happy to have met with the farmers of Bagulin because we learned about their concerns. As the Director has instructed, we have already coordinated with other operating units to seek any possible inputs we could provide.

“Aside from the ICM cards and SAAD interventions, DA-RFO I Regional Executive Director Dr. Annie Q. Bares also delivered food packs to the members of the association and her assurance that the agency will continue to support farmers to achieve higher productivity and income.

During her consultation and dialogue with the farmers, Dr. Bares learned that the primary need of the farmers in Sitio Sinabugan is water supply for the vegetables and other crops planted on top of the hills. Hence, she assured the association to send a team from the engineering division to assess the area and determine which intervention is suitable for the farms.

“One of these days, we will be sending our engineers to inspect the area for the possible establishment of an irrigation system or provision of pump and engine sets. Also, we will refer you to the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) for the linkage of your produce to prospective buyers or sell through our Kadiwa market,” Dr. Bares said.

“𝑆𝑎𝑎𝑛𝑚𝑖 𝑎 𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑎𝑚𝑛𝑎𝑚𝑎 𝑎 𝑚𝑎𝑘𝑎𝑎𝑤𝑎𝑡𝑘𝑎𝑚𝑖 𝑖𝑡𝑖 𝑐𝑎𝑟𝑑 𝑖𝑡𝑎 𝑛𝑔𝑎 𝑎𝑙𝑑𝑎𝑤. 𝑀𝑎𝑦𝑎𝑡 𝑡𝑎 𝑎𝑑𝑑𝑎 𝑡𝑖 𝑖𝑔𝑎𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑚𝑖 𝑖𝑡𝑖 𝑎𝑙𝑖𝑘𝑎𝑚𝑒𝑛 𝑖𝑡𝑖 𝑡𝑎𝑙𝑜𝑛 𝑘𝑎𝑠 𝑖𝑡𝑖 𝑎𝑏𝑜𝑛𝑜 𝑘𝑒𝑛 𝑑𝑎𝑑𝑑𝑢𝑚𝑎 𝑝𝑎𝑦. 𝐴𝑔𝑦𝑎𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑘𝑎𝑚𝑖 𝑖𝑡𝑖 𝑎𝑔𝑡𝑢𝑙𝑡𝑢𝑙𝑜𝑦 𝑎 𝑠𝑢𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑎 𝑡𝑖 𝐷𝐴 𝑘𝑎𝑑𝑎𝑘𝑎𝑚𝑖. 𝑆𝑖𝑝𝑢𝑑 𝑖𝑑𝑖 𝑎𝑑𝑑𝑎 𝑡𝑖 𝑆𝐴𝐴𝐷 𝑘𝑒𝑡 𝑙𝑖𝑚𝑚𝑎𝑔-𝑎𝑛 𝑡𝑖 𝑝𝑎𝑛𝑎𝑔𝑏𝑖𝑎𝑔𝑚𝑖 𝑖𝑡𝑖 𝑡𝑎𝑙𝑜𝑛 𝑡𝑎 𝑖𝑚𝑚𝑎𝑑𝑢 𝑡𝑖 𝑏𝑎𝑘𝑎 𝑖𝑑𝑖𝑎𝑦 𝑆𝑖𝑛𝑎𝑏𝑢𝑔𝑎𝑛. 𝑎𝑑𝑑𝑎 𝑝𝑎𝑦𝑒𝑛 𝑡𝑖 𝑢𝑠-𝑢𝑠𝑎𝑟𝑒𝑛𝑚𝑖 𝑎 𝑚𝑎𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑎𝑟𝑖𝑎 𝑖𝑡𝑖 𝑡𝑎𝑙𝑜𝑛,” Marison Piloy, one of the members of the association, said as he expressed his gratitude to the department.

(We never expected to receive our cash card today. We are thankful because we have additional budget to buy fertilizer and other farm needs. We also appreciate the DA for their constant support, especially SAAD. Because of the SAAD interventions, there are more cows in our place, and we have additional machinery to perform our activities in the fields.)

Since the month of October this year, the Sinabugan farmers have already harvested cucumbers and tomatoes (the interventions they received from SAAD), but they could only sell their produce at low prices because of the lack of a competitive market.

Alongside Director Bares during the activity are FOD Chief Ramos, La Union Agricultural Programs Coordinating Officer (APCO) Juanito Malazo, Jr, staff from SAAD Ilocos Region and Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Information Section (RAFIS), and from the Bagulin Municipal Agriculture Office.###