Agrarian beneficiaries supply farm produce to jails, hospitals

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – Agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) in the Ilocos Region and the national and local government institutions have partnered to bring mutual benefit to both farmers and these institutions under the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) project.

Nenita Madriaga, chief agrarian reform program officer of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Ilocos Region, said in an interview Monday that DAR linked the ARBOs to the institutional market requiring supplemental feeding as part of their role in the EPAHP program.

In the entire region, she said 10 ARBOs with a total of 129 farmer-agrarian reform beneficiaries have already earned almost PHP4.2 million from January to April 25 this year.

In Ilocos Norte, ARBO supplies milled rice to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Batac City and Laoag City, while in Ilocos Sur, an ARBO supplies vegetables, fruits, and corn to the BJMP in Candon City, she added.

In La Union, Madriaga said two ARBOs supply milled rice, vegetables, root crops, and dressed chicken to the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center, a Department of Health (DOH) hospital in the province, as well as in the BJMP in Agoo town and in this city.

In Pangasinan, six ARBOs supply vegetables and milled rice to BJMP facilities in Urdaneta City, Dagupan City, Tayug, and Balungao towns, as well as to the Department of Agriculture, she said.

She added one of these six ARBOs supplies dairy products to the Department of Education for the supplemental feeding program for students.

“Aside from these, DAR has also capacitated ARBOs through training, provision of farm inputs, and even provided livelihood support to women beneficiaries. They were given PHP15,000 each during the pandemic last year for their identified projects,” Madriaga said.

Meanwhile, Jovelyn Laroya Carrera, treasurer of Inabaan Norte Agricultural Multi-Purpose Cooperative in La Union province, commended the DAR and other national government agencies for the EPAHP project.

“Nakatulong ng malaki sa amin kasi nabenta namin mga goods namin sa hospital. Kahit nabawasan ang kita namin dahil sa pandemic ay nakabawi din dahil sa proyektong ito. Sila ang in charge sa marketing at kami naman sa paglikom ng mga gulay at ibang pananim (It has helped us a lot as we were able to sell our goods to a hospital. Although our income was reduced due to the pandemic, we were able to recover because of this project. They are in charge of the marketing while we collect vegetables and other crops),” she said in a separate interview.

EPAHP is where government institutions converged to support the poor people in the countryside, according to DAR. Hilda Austria / PNA – northboundasia.com