Thursday, July 12, 2018

APCO Bridges DA to LGU

APCO SDS June Anthony Ouano (wearing blue polo shirt)
Aiming to boost partnership with the local government units, the Department of Agriculture extends its arms through the Agricultural Program Coordinating Office (APCO).

June Anthony Ouano, APCO Chief of Surigao del Sur said that APCO is an extension arm of DA regional office catering the needs of the LGU’s and other agricultural stakeholders.

“In APCO office, we have personnel assigned for cluster of LGU so they can focus on making follow-ups for any concerned that need immediate attention,” he said.

“APCO is also the window for our partners in the LGU as well as farmers who have concerns for the regional office, thereby bringing our services closer to them,” Ouano explained.

Ouano added that for any activity of the LGU or farmer associations that needs the presence of the regional office, in lieu of the regional officers who are unavailable for an equally important schedules, APCO will represent.

In Caraga Region every province has an assigned APCO.

For Agusan del Norte, APCO has been housed within the DA Regional Office through its officer Edelmira Luminarias; in Agusan del Sur ,APCO is located at the Provincial Government Center in Patin-ay, Prosperidad with its officer Maria Theresa Espinedo, for Surigao del Norte, APCO is located at Penaranda St., Surigao City while for Province of Dinagat Islands it is located at Purok 3, Don Ruben, San Jose, Dinagat Islands with officer Engr. Ricky Palatao, while APCO Surigao Del Sur is located at Brgy. Telaje, Tandag City.

The Agricultural Program Coordinating Office is directly under the umbrella of the Field Operations Division (FOD).

For convenience and faster service, you may visit at any APCO office nearest you. (Aurelius P. Arais/DA Caraga)


Sunday, June 17, 2018

IPs Cares for the Environment the SCoPSA Way

“Nature is our way of life. This is our ancestral home.”

This is how Datu Bawang, tribal chieftain of Higaonon tribe regard their tribal community in a mountainous area of Brgy. Lawan-Lawan, Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte.

“Aside from picking wild fruits, our primary means of livelihood is farming,” says Datu Bawang or Eddie Ampiyawan on his real name.

Datu Bawang, chairperson of the Lekda Higaonon Farmers Producers Cooperative (LeHFaPCo) with 30 members said that their practice in farming was to clear a piece of land in hilly areas, plant corn, harvest then leave the area and look for another area to cultivate crops.

In the process, hilly areas left barren and in danger of a landslide. But their traditional way of farming had ended after embracing a project of the Department of Agriculture that somehow changed their outlook towards the environment.

Dubbed as Sustainable Corn Production for Sustainable Agriculture (SCoPSA), a project introduced to the community in 2017 through the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM).

Prior to the implementation of SCoPSA in a particular site, it should pass the criteria such as accessible and connected to nearest farm-to-market roads; visible to other farmer as a show window of soil and water conservation technologies in the locality; free from any land tenure problems; among others.

After which, soil conservation development plan will be mapped out and corresponding technical training will be conducted for the involved stakeholders including the farmer –cooperator in preparation for the actual establishment of the farm.

The project aims to enhance productivity level of corn farmers through the promotion of a sustainable land use management that will enhance agricultural livelihood and restore ecological balance in sloping areas of the country cultivated with corn.

Technologies  demonstrated  in  the  farm is focused  on  soil  erosion  control  and  gully stabilization coupled with soil fertility improvement, such as contouring, buffer cropping system, crop rotation, among others.

“Never in our imagination could those abandoned hilly areas still be utilized again as a source of our livelihood. Nowadays, no need for us to leave and look for new a area to be cultivated,” Datu Bawang said.

“SCoPSA teaches us the value of a piece of land, which could sustainably, provides us food and means of our livelihood,” he added.
Appreciating the benefits of the program, 3 hectares had been initially developed in SCoPSA way, and currently, it has increased to 15 hectares.

Through the Bayanihan spirit among coop members, the area had been planted with corn, banana, coffee, mangosten, durian, and pineapple, wherein the planting materials had been given from the Department of Agriculture with support from the provincial government of Agusan del Norte.

“We already harvested 40 sacks of corn, so it helps us for our food,” Datu Bawang said.

Provincial Agriculture Office of Agusan del Norte provided technical support to the tribe especially on pest monitoring to ensure a good harvest.

“To help our IP brothers, the provincial government trained and provided an allowance to two tribe member as para-technician,” said Oscar Tuyor, provincial corn coordinator.

Soon farmers in Lawan-lawan, some 46 kilometers from Buenavista Poblacion, will experience ease in transporting agricultural products as an on-going construction of a national highway going to Bukidnon, traversed in the area.

In Caraga Region, 3 areas had been identified as SCoPSA sites since last year including Brgy. Malapong in Buenavista, Brgy. Culit in Nasipit and Brgy. Lawan-Lawan in Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte.  Additional areas are still under validation. (Aurelius P. Arais/DA Caraga)


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Aggie Chief Launches Easy Access Loan Program for the Farmers

The government is beefing-up its effort to alleviate the economic conditions of the farmers and fisherfolks in the countryside.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol launched a nationwide credit program for the farmers and fisherfolks dubbed as Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) Program.

The launching ceremony was held at Malimono, Surigao del Norte some 32 kilometers away from Surigao City on June 26, 2017.

Through PLEA, marginal and small rural farmers and fisherfolks in the area can loan an amount of up to P50,000.00 with no collateral.

Borrowers can pay the loaned amount from 2 to 10 years depending on the commodity or activity with only 6% per annum or 0.5% per month interest rate.

During the launching ceremony Secretary Piñol awarded to Malimono Multi-Purpose Cooperative an amount of P15 million as lending conduits where borrowers can access the said loan program.

“Our farmers have 3 basic needs which is technology, financing and marketing, and PLEA is one of the answers to their financial needs,” Piñol said.

The loaned amount is intended to finance any agricultural or fishery production activities covered with insurance through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).

However beforehand a farmer and fisherfolk could access the loan, they shall be enrolled in the Juan Magsasaka’t Mangingisda Database System and issued with an intervention card.

Prior to the launching in Malimono, DA Central Office through the Information and Communications Technology Services (DA-ICTS) conducted a data gathering activities through an interview and geo-tagging the farmers and fisherfolks to identify the location of their farms and fishing grounds.

“The reason why farmers are hesitant to lend money from the banks is due to numerous documents needed, that is why we simplified the process, once you are registered in our database system and issued with Juan Magsasaka’t Mangingisda Card you are now eligible for the loan program,” Piñol explained.

PLEA with funding support of up to P20 Billion through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) is targeting around 2 million families across the country. (Aurelius P. Arais/DA Caraga)


Thursday, June 29, 2017

DA Caraga Promotes Urban Agriculture

Urban areas can be a productive source of food through urban gardening.

Thus, Gender and Development (GAD) Program of the Department of Agriculture Caraga conducted an urban agriculture and gardening training for DA employees on May 31, 2017.

Participants proudly pose with their output
DA-GAD focal person Isabelita Ocampo said that they intend to include all DA employees on the said training hence it is divided into four batches with the recent as first batch.

“Each of DA employees can be a role model for our respective community in promoting urban gardening; in the process we can help attaining food sufficiency,”  she said.

Participants were taught how to plant vegetables and herbs and spices in an environment friendly way with resource persons Norvien Mantilla and Geovani Jabagat of Research Division.

With limited space on urban areas, participants learned how to plant utilizing empty plastic containers, thereby it promotes recycling. 

Ocampo said that through urban gardening, families could ensure safe and healthy foods.

“No need for us to buy vegetables or species from the market since we have our own source and at the same time we can use our plants in beautifying our respective homes,” she said.

One of the participants, Rosalinda Galon, who planned to retire soon of Agribusiness and Marketing Division (AMAD) said that what she learned could be a possible avenue for her to attend to after her retirement.

“When I retire at least through gardening I still have source of income, enjoyment, physical fitness, and I can employ house aesthetic more,” Galon said.

DA Caraga Regional Director Abel James Monteagudo lauded the activity as he encouraged each and every employee of DA Caraga to be an advocate of urban agriculture. (Aurelius P. Arais/DA Caraga)


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Vegetable Garden by the Sea

Actual photo of the garden by the sea
Can you imagine a vegetable garden in the middle of the sea? Does it sound peculiar?

It may sound unusual from other places but not in Barobo, Surigao del Sur.

Ermilinda Cortez, a resident of Sitio Anunang, Brgy. Gamut in the said town raised a vegetable garden in the fish pen located few meters way from the seashore.

She said that while conducting monitoring on the milk fish (bangus) production project under the Anunang Gamut Fishermen Association (AGFA), a project funded by  Department of Agriculture through the then Mindanao Rural Development Project it tickled in her mind to raise vegetables to maximize her time.

Ermilinda is a member of the monitoring team in the said association.

“Since I was a child, I really love gardening so every time I have a chance, I would do it,” she said.  

She then started to bring soil every time she visited the project riding in the small banca and placed it in the plastic container and used sacks.
Interview with Ermilinda Cortez of Sitio Anunang, Gamut, Barobo, SDS

From the vegetables seeds she received from DA through Municipal Agriculture Office of Barobo she sowed it diligently.

She tendered various vegetables such as vine spinach (alugbati), kangkong, bottle gourd (upo), petchay, lemon grass (tanglad), string beans, tomato and more.

Watering the plants is the tedious part since it is located in the sea with no source of fresh water. To solve her dilemma, she innovated a way to capture the rainwater. She put a gutter in the roof of the small hut within the fish pen and drained it to a water container through a funnel and a hose.

With tender care, the vegetable garden of Ermilinda by the sea had grown vigorously.
Now, after her monitoring duty in the project, she would go home with a bagful of vegetables enough for her family and to be shared by her fellow association members.

“If I was able to raise vegetables in the sea, no reason that others who are residing in the mainland could not plant as well,” boasted Ermilinda. (Aurelius P. Arais/DA Caraga)


Monday, May 29, 2017

Caraga RAFC Chair Assumes DA Farmer-Director

Recognizing the significant role of the Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council (RAFC), the Department of Agriculture has empowered them by designating the RAFC Chair as Farmer-Director.

 Farmer Director Pedro Lim at Rosario, Agusan del Sur
During the flag ceremony on May 2, 2017, Caraga RAFC Chair Pedro T. Lim was formally introduced by DA Caraga Regional Executive Director Abel James Monteagudo as Farmer-Director for the whole month of May.

The designation of Lim is in pursuant to the Memorandum Order duly signed by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol as a token of recognition and to further strengthen the partnership between DA and RAFC.

As Farmer-Director, Lim will assume the roles and tasks of a DA-RFO Director in the implementation and dissemination of key programs of the agency.

However, their authority shall be limited to non-policy determining activities which should not in any way affect the government accounting rules and procedures as well as the civil service rules and regulations.

The Agricultural and Fishery Council (AFC) is the mechanism for private and public sector partnership in the development processes of the agriculture and fisheries sectors at the regional, provincial and municipal levels.

AFC now on its 30 years of existence, conducts monitoring and recommends agricultural projects, as well provide policy recommendations for the government decision makers.   

The celebration of May as Farmers’ and Fisherfolk’s month is in pursuant to the Department of Agriculture (DA) Special Order No. 88 series of 2005 to give due recognition to the contribution of farmers and fisherfolk in the national development. (Aurelius P. Arais/DA Caraga)


DA Caraga Turns-over P20M BUB projects in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur

Road network is vital for development in every human endeavor including the agricultural sector.

Thus the Department of Agriculture continues to implement farm to market roads (FMR) to ease the burden of farmers to deliver their produce to the market.

Recently DA Caraga turned-over an FMR project amounting to more than P19 million to the local government unit of Esperanza, Agusan del Sur funded under the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB).

The said project is the 1.5 kilometers road upgrading of Poblacion to Piglawigan Road jointly funded with the LGU as counterpart.

Aside from road project, DA Caraga also turned-over the completed rehabilitation of the Municipal Agriculture Office warehouse amounting to P1 million.

The said edifice will be the storage area for various inputs and supply for the farmers in the said locality.

Esperanza town mayor Leonida Manpatilan expressed her gratitude to DA for extending its projects and services to her town.

“We are grateful that DA has been a keen in assisting our farmers, thus it contributes to our goal to uplift their lives,’ she said.

DA Caraga Field Operations Division chief Rebecca Atega said that road is vital in agricultural development through faster and convenient delivery of agricultural products.

The town of Esperanza is part of the cluster areas for corn production in the region. Other agricultural crops are also planted in the area such as rice, vegetables and other.

BUB is one of the major government’s reform initiatives aimed at making the national government budgeting process more responsive to local needs. (Aurelius P. Arais/DA Caraga)


DA-ACPC Extends SURE Recovery Loan Package for Flood Affected Farmers

Sure and faster way of helping affected small farmers to recover from recent severe flooding in Caraga Region has been given an utmost priority of the government through the Department of Agriculture nowadays.

One of the approach is giving the farmers an access to avail a recovery loan package of maximum to P25,000.00 per borrower without an interest and payable of up to 3 years.

The loan package called the Survival and Recovery (SURE) program will be implemented through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) in coordination with banks, cooperatives and other financial conduits whichever is accessible to the affected areas.

ACPC Administrative Officer Noel Clarence Ducusin said that SURE program is an immediate response of the government to help the farmers for faster recovery from damages incurred due to intermittent weather conditions.

“After Secretary Emmanuel Piñol saw in person the extent of damage on farms during his personal visit here in Caraga Region, ACPC immediately formulated the guidelines for this kind of loan package,” Ducusin revealed.

As per guideline, SURE recovery loan package is extended for small farmers whose farms incurred considerable damaged due to the flood and situated on an area declared under the state of calamity.

Small farmer refers to farmer whose land area is not more than five hectares. The loan package is also open for fisherfolks.

The said loan package is designed to finance the requirements of rehabilitating the farms, and or livelihood activities of fisherfolks to include production inputs, repair of farm or fishery assets, acquisition of livestock or working animals.   

As of writing, 12 municipalities in Agusan del Sur, 3 municipalities in Agusan del Norte and the City of Butuan had been declared under the state of calamity due to Typhoon Auring and the Tail-End of the Cold Front.

Currently, ACPC is awaiting the final lists of affected farmers who may qualify the loan portfolio from the respective local government units to ascertain the needed amount and to give the go signal to the financial conduits to start releasing the loan package. (Aurelius P. Arais/DA Caraga)


Thursday, April 20, 2017

GAP: Farmer’s Road to ASEAN market

Johnny Concon, DA Caraga GAP focal person talks about GAP certification
The sure ticket for Filipino farmers to seize the opportunities on the ASEAN market is through Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).

Supervising Agriculturist Isabelita Ocampo of the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) of Department of Agriculture Caraga said that quality is the name of the game on ASEAN market.

“If your product is not GAP certified you can’t access the ASEAN market”, she said.
GAP is the common parameter for ASEAN products wherein member countries can market their products as long as it conform the standards.

To broaden the understanding of Caraga vegetables farmers on GAP, DA Caraga conducted a training-seminar on GAP recently.

The training was participated by farmers, students, consumers and traders.

GAP focal person Johnny Concon emphasized the importance of following the GAP standards as it ensures safe and quality food products.

GAP approach aims at applying available knowledge to addressing environmental, economic and social sustainability dimensions for on-farm production and post-production processes, resulting in safe and quality food and non-food agricultural products.

To encourage Caraga farmers to be GAP certified, Concon said that DA Caraga will assist those interested.

“GAP certification is free and DA Caraga is ready to assist the farmers”, Concon said.

The certification is open for individual, associations or cooperative with basic requirements such as GAP training certificate, farm map and location and farming practices records. (Aurelius P. Arais/DA Caraga)


Sunday, March 12, 2017


Have you tasted macaroni made from sago?

Wow... superb... this is a product from Veruela, Agusan del Sur.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Poultry a Promising Agribusiness in Caraga Region

Mr. Joel Callano prepares his harvested eggs for costumers

There’s money in an egg.

Are you thinking of a promising business? Poultry industry might be your future!

Data presented during the crafting of the industry roadmap for poultry spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture, Caraga Region needs more supply for poultry products and by products.

As of 2015 PSA data, Caraga with a population of more than 2.5 million the demand for poultry products pegged to 24.126 metric tons (MT) while its supply accounted for only 18,967 MT or a deficit of 5,159 MT.

The data is using the per capita consumption from year 2012-2015, wherein per person consumes an average of 5.51 kilograms per year (kg/yr) of chicken meat, 3.48 kg/yr of chicken egg, 0.04 kg/yr of duck meat and 0.13 of duck egg.

The gap between the supply and demand means there is an opportunity for investment in poultry industry in Caraga.

As of now, Caraga Region absorbs supply from other neighboring region to fill the gap of the demand and supply.

Joel Callano, a poultry grower in Tagbina, Surigao del Sur said that his daily harvest of 25 trays of eggs is not enough to supply the need of his municipality alone.

“There is still a room for investment in the poultry industry in Caraga Region, so for the farmers who are willing to invest it's an opportune time,” Callano said.

Poultry industry is a significant contributor to the agricultural sector in the Philippines chipping in 15.41 percent to the total value of agricultural production in 2015.

To strengthen government support for the industry and other commodities, DA Caraga conducted series of roadmap crafting through the involvement of different stakeholders such as farmer associations, academe, agripreneurs, agriculture and fishery council, financial institutions, DA attached agencies and other national line government agencies.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Caraga RAFC Chair Advocates Agripreneurship

Caraga Region RAFC Chair Pedro Lim in an interview
Agriculture is business!

This is how the newly elected chairperson Pedro Lim of the Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Council (RAFC) in Caraga wants the farmers to perceive.

Lim, an agricultural machine fabricator said that the only way a farmer to be successful is to treat his work as business.

“Farmers should have to level-up their mindset from a mere producer to a processor,” he said.

He said that instead of a farmer confined himself to planting, harvesting and selling raw produce; they should have to venture into value adding that commands higher price, wider marketing edge thus ensuring higher return of investments.

He also stressed the importance of time and financial management.

“For example a farmer plants corn, it is not daily the farmer need to attend his farm so why not utilize other days for another venture to be more productive rather just wait until harvesting time,” he emphasized.

He also lauded the Department of Agriculture Caraga for spearheading the crafting of regional roadmap of major commodities in Caraga as an effective tool in program planning and policy direction.

He is confident that if all stakeholders in the agricultural sector both from private and government will work closely, agricultural development is just within reach.

RAFC is a private sector-led consultative council toward the formulation of sound policy and program recommendations for sustained countryside agricultural and fishery development. (Aurelius P. Arais/DA Caraga)