The Department of Agrarian Reform has forged a partnership with the Bureau of Jail and Management Penology to source out food supplies intended for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) in Oriental Mindoro from the agricultural products of agrarian reform beneficiaries there.
Under the marketing agreement, the BJMP in Calapan City, San Teodoro, Naujan, Bansud and Roxas would directly purchase the food requirements of PDLs from the farmers’ organizations, including Guinobatan Agrarian Reform Community Cooperative, General Esco Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Kababaihan ng Maluanluan and Samahan ng Magpapatubig sa Mansalay Inc.
Support Services Office Undersecretary Emily Padilla said through this agreement, the farmer-beneficiaries in the province were guaranteed a ready market for their products while the PDLs were assured of affordable and fresh agricultural products.
“There is so much more to be done to strengthen, empower and support our farmers because in the years to come they will play a vital role in the economic recovery of the country,” she said.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic had weakened the various sectors in the country, but the agricultural sector stood as one of the backbones of the economy and it is because the farmers did not stop from producing the country’s food requirements.
The DAR and BJMP partnership is being implemented under the government’s Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) Program that seeks to address the government’s fight against hunger and poverty in the countryside.
MIMAROPA regional director Marvin Bernal said the partnership would increase the farmers’ income because of a wider market niche and support from the institutional markets.
“This project would also promote strong cooperativism and commitment of ARBs in pursuing their respective cooperatives’ enterprise,” he said.
Bernabe Malicse Jr., SMMI president, said they have become victims of traders and middlemen who dictate low prices for their commodities.
He said through this agreement, they now have a steady market for their products, and they could now demand fair pricing for their commodities.
“We are very happy about this project because of a steady and wider market for our products. Thank you, DAR, for the never-ending support to us, farmers,” he said.