Cotabato City (May 23, 2016) – Recognition events across the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) highlighted this year’s celebration of Farmers and Fisherfolks’ Month as well as the 25th Devolution Anniversary of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF-ARMM).
Alexander Alonto, DAF-ARMM Secretary, said the celebration was aimed at recognizing and honoring farmers and fisherfolks for their valuable contribution to the economy.
ARMM’s economic output is anchored on resource-based activities such as agriculture, aquaculture, fishery and forestry. These comprise roughly two-thirds of the region’s gross regional domestic product.
Eighteen rice producers in ARMM were recognized as Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers for 2015. The award is given to farmers with the highest rice production during the year and is largely based on a selection process conducted by the Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Council.
Among the achievers was Rahib Mamaluba, 36, a farming technician in Mamasapano, Maguindanao who helps farmers improve rice production by giving them training on land preparation and planting techniques, among others.
Mamaluba received a unit of rice transplanter that makes crop planting easier. For example, two hectares of farm could be planted in one day with help from two farmers. In traditional planting, 20 farmers are needed to cover a two-hectare land.
“Masela ged e pakadtabang na niyaba ka malemu endu malangkas e kapegkumpay nami (This helps a lot because it makes planting easier and faster),” Mamaluba said.
Distribution of farming inputs, machineries and fishing paraphernalia worth P14.05 million to pre-identified farmers and fisherfolks was also part of this year’s celebration, Sec. Alonto added.
The items distributed were 400 bags of certified palay seeds; 1,500 bags of open-pollinated corn seeds; 5,000 sachets of rodenticides; 11,200 liters of fungicides; 12,096 liters of bactericides; 8,720 liters of pesticide; 680 gallons of foliar spray; and 30 boxes of foliar fertilizer.
Farm machineries were also distributed, which include nine units of rice transplanter, eight units of hand tractor, and two units of floating tiller. These were all funded by the Agri-Pinoy rice and corn programs.
During this year’s celebration 15 fisherfolks from Datu Odin Sinsuat in Maguindanao were also given non-motorized banca and gillnet.
More than 200 farmers from Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, meanwhile, graduated from the School-On-the-Air (SOA) course on Rice Pests and Diseases on Thursday, May 19, in Cotabato City.
The SOA is a radio program of DAF-ARMM aimed at educating farmers in the region through lectures and courses such as Palay Check System, Organic Vegetable Production, and High-Value Crops Development. More than 40 SOA programs had been conducted since 1975.
The month of May was declared Farmers and Fisherfolks’ Month by the late President Corazon Aquino in 1989 by virtue of Proclamation No. 33. The DAF was devolved to the ARMM regional government in 1991 through Executive Order 460. (Bureau of Public Information)