RECOGNIZING the need to help local farming communities amid this coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, a young organic farming advocate has initiated a cause benefiting small individual farmers in the province.

Twenty-six-year old Aljon Candelasa, senior sales associate of May's Organic Garden in Bacolod City, tapped various individuals and groups for a donation drive dubbed "Help for the Harvesters: A call to help our local farmers."

Candelasa said the project aims to provide food and other necessities to the farmers in Negros Occidental who are affected by the prevailing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis.

Among the beneficiaries of the initiative included the 34 registered members of Barangay Dulao United Farm Owners Association at Barangay Dulao in Bago City.

Candelasa, along with his friends and representatives of partner-organizations like Junior Chamber International (JCI) - Bacolod, distributed food packs to the recipient-farmers at the barangay auditorium recently.

The food packs contain two kilograms of rice, sardines, noodles, bread and juice, among others.

These were received by the farmers with face masks, and were observing physical distancing.

After which, the group went house to house and distributed same food packs to about a hundred farmer-households in the said barangay.

"Our farmers are the ones producing our food but they are also the ones needing food assistance especially during these trying times," he said, adding that "as a farmer too, my heart is really for the farmers."

Candelasa was able to gather the monetary and in-kind donations in six days.

Among other the donors included May's Organic Garden, Fresh Start Organic,, RU Foundry, and Victory Christian Fellowship.

"I am really blessed to be able to help our farmers, who are one of the vulnerable sectors, even in this little way," Candelasa said.

He told farmers to "hold on to their faith as we can all end Covid crisis and hunger by helping each other."

For the farmers' part, their association president Jason Quinta said the food packs will really help the member-farmers.

Quinta said the rice subsidy can lessen the negative impact of the pandemic to small individual farmers in the barangay.

"We are thankful that a private individual has remembered us farmers," he said, adding that the members also received two kilograms of rice last week from his own initiative.