Almost P15-M farm facilities up for distribution in NegOcc

ALMOST P15 million worth of common service facilities (CSFs) are up for distribution among agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (Arbos) in Negros Occidental, an official of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Western Visayas said.

Antonio del Socorro, assistant regional director for support services of DAR Region Western Visayas, told SunStar Bacolod that three agrarian reform cooperatives and associations in the southern portion of the province are scheduled to receive farm machineries including mainly 90 horsepower tractors amounting to about P10.5 million this month.

Del Socorro said the agency has also allocated an additional fund of P4 million for the purchase of sugarcane juicer equipment, in support to various local rural women groups for muscovado production.

Recently, the DAR has turned over P40.5 million in various CSFs to 10 Arbos in the province. Thus, a total of about P55 million worth of farm machineries are intended for Negros Occidental this year.

“The agency is putting premium to common service facilities as it supports the development of both production and livelihood of our farmer-beneficiaries,” he said, reiterating that this intervention from the government addresses the difficulty of farmers in purchasing million worth of farm equipment.

The DAR earlier said that the distribution of CSFs is implemented through the agency's Sugar Block Farm (SBF) and Climate Resilient Farm Productivity Support (CRFPS) programs.

SBF is aimed at improving the productivity of sugarcane farmers that are collectively managed by cooperatives.

CRFPS project, on the other hand, seeks to develop and sustain farm productivity through the provision of equipment and inputs in order to enhance and sustain high yield amid the vulnerability to climate change.

Del Socorro said, based on their records, a significant number of Arbos in the province have not yet received farm facilities.

“We have yet to hurdle a lot,” Del Socorro said, adding that the regional line agency is now updating the development plan of each Arbo to determine development gaps and extent of needs.

These will be translated to investment requirements to be sourced out from different funding agencies, he pointed out.

“For as long as farmers already have the land, it is our primary concern to provide continuing interventions mainly necessary support services,” Del Socorro stressed, as he appealed to recipient-Arbos to take care of the facilities and utilize it to become more productive.

The DAR earlier clarified that CSFs are more of usufruct. Meaning, these are not donated yet considering the bureaucratic limitations including those with the Commission on Audit (COA).

Under the agency’s guidelines, in the event that recipient-Arbos are no longer utilizing the machineries, the agency can retrieve and transfer it to other organizations in need.

Del Socorro said “this is a very good kind of modality” as it encourages the farmers' groups to really take care of the facilities.

Aside from increasing the level of production, CSF distribution would also strengthen their organizations, he said.

“Those non-members of the organization who would like to avail of the services, we will convince them to become members,” Del Socorro said, adding that “it is one way also of expanding the membership of the cooperatives.”