Responding to the invitation of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Ilocos Sur – Information Center to join the organized Barangay Forum in Sugpon, Ilocos Sur on March 18, 2024, the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office I (DA-RFO I) took part in the said activity and shared relevant information on the various projects and services of DA for farmers.

The activity dubbed “Managing El Niño in Ilocos Sur Agriculture: A Forum on Agricultural Assistance for Filipino Farmers” was organized by PIA-Ilocos Sur spearheaded by Ms. Joyah Mae C. Quimoyog, Information Center Manager, PIA-Iocos Sur with around 80 farmer participants invited to the said event.

DA-RFO I was represented by Ms. Vida Cacal, Regional Information Officer and Chief of the Regional Agriculture & Fisheries Information Section (RAFIS), together with Mr. Jomar Dayap, Agricultural Programs Coordinating Officer (APCO) for Ilocos Sur and Mr. Julius Briones, Agriculturist II and report officer of the Rice Program from the Field Operations Division (FOD).

As one of the resource speakers, Ms. Cacal discussed the various assistance from DA most particularly for the El Niño affected farmers in Region I where she informed that DA has available interventions ready for distribution amounting to P28.4M in the form of palay seeds (hybrid, certified, registered) assorted vegetable seeds, and botanical and chemical pesticides, among others. She also informed some of the various programs under the Rice, Corn, High-Value Crops, Livestock, and Organic Agriculture Program where farmers could avail of and take part in these programs to increase their livelihood opportunities and income.

A representative from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) likewise provided information on how farmers could avail of its insurance programs especially when natural calamities and agricultural challenges such as El Niño are anticipated.

Other government institutions such as the Pag-IBIG Home Mutual Fund also participated in the activity and provided on-site services to the participants as well as the Department of Human Settlement and Urban Development and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

An open forum was held after the information sharing of each resource speaker where issues and concerns from the farmers were responded to.

The activity also coincided with the celebration of Sugpon’s Ube Festival where Sugpon Mayor Daniel C. Laño, Jr. highlighted their municipality’s quest to be known as the Ube Capital of the North. The Mayor warmly welcomed all the participants which include Ilocos Sur Vice Governor Ryan Luis V. Singson as Guest of Honor and Speaker and other Provincial and Municipal Local Government Unit Officials.

Vice-Governor Singson in his message, pledged his support in providing needed funding assistance for the infrastructure projects initiated by Mayor Laño to better serve the people of Sugpon, Ilocos Sur.