KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato, April 18-- More than 200 coconut and corn farmers from the different barangays in Kidapawan City and the municipality of Kabacan recently benefited from the cash and food aid of the Department of Agriculture (DA) XII and the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) as part of the agencies' assistance to agriculture sector severely affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
The recipients are comprised the 136 coconut farmers and four corn farmers from Kidapawan and 20 coconut farmers and six corn farmers based in Kabacan.
City Agriculturist Marissa Aton said the farmer beneficiaries are those having only one hectare planted with coconuts or corn and whose livelihood is highly affected by the pandemic.
Aton, together with DA XII Regional Corn Coordinator Abas Abdullah, and Coconut Development Officer Kathleen Lana led the distribution held at the Mega Tent of the City Hall where each farmer-beneficiary received P3,000 cash and food items consist of half sack rice and five kilos dressed chicken.
Abdullah said the assistance forms part of the DA's initiative to provide aid to those farmers not included as recipients of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) of the national government.
"The department recognized the ill-effects of the pandemic of COVID-19 to our small corn farmers and how they suffer the consequences that is why the DA came up with program to alleviate their unfavorable situation," Abdullah stated during the opening of the activity.
For her part, Lana noted, a large number of coconut farmers have incurred heavy losses because of the pandemic and the PCA has also came up with a program to help them.
Expressing his gratitude, Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph Evangelista said he is more than happy to know that the programs and projects of the city government for the affected farmers coincide with that of the DA and PCA especially in the efforts to help them recover from the pandemic.
"The city government continues to create programs aimed at helping the agriculture sector and strengthening food sufficiency as this is very important in this time of pandemic," said Mayor Evangelista.
The mayor then underscored the city government's focus on agriculture this year which includes the distribution of free seedlings and fertilizers, hogs and other livestock, animal feeds, and technical trainings and capacity building for crop planters and growers. (AJPME-CIO Kidapawan City LGU)