Cotabato City—Farmers have brought in fresh vegetables, fruits and organic rice at low price tags on the third and last Organic Agriculture Congress of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao here on Friday.
Regional Secretary Alexander Alonto Jr. of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in ARMM said the region’s last food congress also hosted an extended dialogue between farmers and agriculture students of nearby state colleges.
Consumers, many of them government employees, trooped to the Sharif Kabunsuan Cultural Center inside the ARMM Complex here for various organically-grown farm products, which were transported for the farmers by the DAF-ARMM.
Bai Anida Tomawis-Limbona said farmers had pegged their products at much cheaper price tags in support to national government’s program, bridging farm products directly to consumers to minimize added costs and help stabilize prices of basic commodities for the general public.
Dr. Jalika D. Mangacop, head of the DAF-ARMM agribusiness and marketing division, said her office would be guiding farmers by helping them access marketing windows for their products.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol awarded a Maguindanao elementary pupil Asil Andan, as the national winner in the 2018 UN World Food Program on-the-spot poster visual art contest in Quezon City on Wednesday.
Dr. Kadiguia Rakman Abdullah said Piñol and UN-WFP country officials handed over the winner’s trophy and cash prizes to Andan, an elementary grader from Nituan Elementary School in Parang, Maguindanao.
Alonto and DAF-ARMM Assistant Secretary Eugene Strong also awarded organic agriculture achievers selected among the attending farmer-groups.
Dr. Modrika Masukat, a farmer and agriculture officer of Mamasapano, Maguindanao, encouraged the students to venture into integrative cooperative farming and “promote organic agriculture by example.”
The Al-Rahman Integrated Farms Cooperative in Mamasapano produce organically raised chicken and is supplying halal dressed chicken meat to local restaurants and hotels at P 130 per kilo on large volume deliveries, Masukat said, adding that the livestock is grown also on halal feeds.
Mariam Naic, agriculture officer of Saguiaran, Lanao Sur, said growers among residents displaced by the Marawi siege last year, also brought in their farm products, mostly vegetables.
ARMM is set to be replaced by a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) after a plebiscite on January 21 to ratify Republic Act 11054. The region is composed of Basilan, Lanao Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Marawi (Lanao Sur) and Lamitan (Basilan), which will also become the core territory of BARMM.
Farmers from the five ARMM provinces have converged here since Thursday with fruits and vegetables labeled with much lower prices.
The price-tag of brown organic rice was reasonable at P 100 per pack of two kilos each. Tomatoes cost P 60/ kilo (P 80/ kilo in the local market); okra (gumbo) is tagged P 15/ kilo (P25.00 in the market); white potato is P 35/ kilo (P 70/ kilo in the market); string beans are bound in P 15/ bundle (P 33 – 60 in the market); eggplant is pegged at P 40/ kilo (P 120.00 in the market) and ampalaya (bitter melon) is P 60/ kilo (P 85.00 in the market).
The ARMM Regional Agriculture and Fishery Council also passed four resolutions, one of which urging the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) to continue the conduct of the annual organic agriculture congress in the transition and in the term of the BARMM.