FARMERS in a far-flung village of Zamboanga del Norte benefitted from the first outreach program for the year 2022 of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in partnership with other government agencies.

The beneficiaries of the outreach program held Thursday, January 13, were the farmers and residents of San Pedro village in the municipality of Godod.

On January 12, the team from the DA-Zamboanga Peninsula traveled a nine-kilometer road from Godod National Highway and hiked for another nine-kilometer distance for three hours to reach the San Pedro village to deliver assistance to the farmers.

The DA-Zamboanga Peninsula High Valued Crops Development Program (HVCDP) provided 100 packs of eight-in-one assorted vegetable seeds, while the DA-Zamboanga Peninsula Rice Program prepared 400 packs of rodenticides.

Some Information, Education, Communication (IEC) materials were also distributed to the members of the community in San Pedro, according to George Vallente, Zamboanga del Norte agricultural program coordinator.

Vallente said the Gutayan-Dumalinao Irrigators' Association, a farmer-partner of the DA Special Area for Agricultural Development (Saad) Program, received one unit of Single-Pass Rice Mill worth P400,000 in support of their Rice Production Project.

During the outreach program, Vallente emphasized the value of caring for nature, saying “If we want to sustain our farming, we must also respect and take care of our nature because our source of living relies on it.”

Vallente said the DA will always support the farmers and will give them the most needed assistance as long as they communicate their request to the office of the agency.

Rad Donn Cedeño, DA regional executive director (RED), also extended his appreciation to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in providing the cash assistance under their Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program to the 94 members of the association.

Godod Mayor Abel Matildo also expressed his appreciation and heartfelt gratitude to DA for conducting the outreach program.

“We are grateful to the DA RED Cedeño for providing the farmers livelihood opportunities. I believe that San Pedro is wealthy because the Palayan ng Bayan is here. The people of Godod are hardworking and diligent for maintaining the Palayan ng Bayan for a long time now,” Matildo said.

“The only way to achieve agricultural development is the establishment of the farm-to-market road (FMR) and the LGU (local government unit) of Godod is working on it. Just continue your hard work so that everything we dream for San Pedro will be realized,” he told the farmers.

Also present and have supported the outreach program were DSWD Social Welfare Officer Jasmine Pabatao; Community Environment and Natural Resources Office assistant chief Antonio Yanos; Lieutenant Colonel Filven Noche, 44th Infantry Battalion commander; DepEd staff in San Pedro, municipal government personnel and other DA Staff. (SunStar Zamboanga)