CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr. on Saturday distributed some P250,000 seed capital to five municipal farmer groups as part of his program for cooperatives.

Each farmer group received P50,000 as initial start up fund for their respective projects.

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Gonzales led the distribution at his district office in Barangay Sindalan here. He was joined by Provincial Agriculture and Fisheries Council (PAFC) Ner Sambile and Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Director Redentor Gatus.

“We have given the municipal farmer groups of Sta. Ana, Arayat, Mexico, City of San Fernando and Bacolor this much needed assistance so that they could immediately activate their cooperative projects for this year and help farmers in their agricultural needs,” Gonzales said.

Last year, Gonzales also distributed financial assistance to farmer groups in the district. The support, he said, was intended to help farmers, cooperatives, and all other agricultural stakeholders increase their production and income, generate employment with their projects, and contribute to the growth of the economy.

During the distribution, Gonzales also asked farm cooperatives to take the challenge of venturing into other related agricultural enterprises to increase their income and revolving funds.

He said that farmer cooperatives should have the corporate approach to running the cooperatives to better strengthen their financial standings.

The PAFC, meanwhile, said it is willing to take the Gonzales’ challenge.

“Farmer cooperatives must seriously take this challenge as the times dictate that we venture into other enterprises and try to look for other options that would keep farmer cooperative groups alive,” Sambile said.

Gatus, for his part, said that farmer groups and their fiscal performance are crucial to the attainment of the goal of the DA to help small farmers move beyond primary agriculture and into value-added higher-earning enterprises, because it will mean additional resources for the farm sector. (Ian Ocampo Flora)