Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for High Value Crops and Rural Credit Evelyn Laviña paid a visit to three potential agri-tourism sites in Pangasinan upon the invitation of Pangasinan’s 4th District Representative Christopher de Venecia.

A two-day activity with an end goal of identifying possible interventions that the High Value Crops Program could provide to further promote high value crops farming and enterprise in Ilocos Region and to lead the distribution and awarding of high value crops interventions to farmers, Usec Laviña also took the opportunity to discuss with the farmers’ associations and farm owners possible partnership with the DA.

In her meeting with the calamansi farmers’ group in Brgy. Lekep-Butao, San Fabian, Pangasinan, Usec Laviña together with Congressman de Venecia toured the 6.5 hectare calamansi farm and advised the farmer leaders in the area to form into association for a more cohesive interventions from the DA.

Seeing the farm as a potential agri-tourism farm, Usec Laviña also recommended to look into value adding activities that the farmers could pursue to enhance their calamansi production into a more productive enterprise like production of calamansi scented soap, mix of calamansi with other fruit juices, calamnsi hair gel, among others.

Another promising agri-tourism site visited by Usec Laviña is the Fortune Dragon Fruit Farm of Mr. Teddy Nuez in Brgy. San Juan, San Jacinto, Pangasinan. A 12-hectare farm filled with various high value crops, with dragon fruit as the main crop, the farm is ideal for agri-tourism site with its production of high-end marketable crops such as mulberry, fig tree, cherry, passion fruit, guave and vanilla, among others.

The farm was established in 2014 in collaboration with the ‘Dragon Fruit Lady’ in Ilocos Region, Ms. Edita Dacuycuy.

Concluding her first day visit in the region, Usec Laviña led the technical briefing and turn-over ceremony of DA’s interventions for Urban Agriculture Project and interacted with the Baritao Sampaguita Farmers group for the further enhancement of sampaguita farming in Baritao, Manaoag, Pangasinan.

As the DA’s initial intervention, Usec Laviña, upon the request of Engr. Arnold Raul Geronimo, Municipal Agriculturist of Manaoag, committed to allocate funds for the conduct of research study to identify quality sampaguita planting materials that would be suitable for production in the area with the help of the Bureau of Agricultural Research in partnership with agricultural state universities like the Pangasinan State University.

MAO Geronimo also made a request for the inclusion of sampaguita as one of the commodities to be insured by the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC). Usec Laviña in response said she will try to collaborate with the insurance agency and look into possible funding support for the provision of capital to farmers who would engage into value-adding activity for sampaguita.

Taking into account all these interventions from DA, Congressman de Venecia challenged the sampaguita farmers to create, innovate and try to come up with more sampaguita by-products.

On her second day visit in Pangasinan, Usec Laviña led the distribution of DA’s interventions to 16 farmers associations in support to the Urban Agriculture Program as a component of the Bayanihan II Program of DA – To recover as One.

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