IN A bid to ensure food security amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has inaugurated its “Buhay sa Gulay” site in Cadiz City recently, the second in Negros Occidental.

Cadiz City Mayor Salvador Escalante Jr., who led the activity, said the project will help boost the economy of the city.

“There is a potential business in vegetable farming, and it is progressive,” he added.

Officer-In-Charge Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Teresita Mabunay said the Covid-19 pandemic has brought a lot of challenges, but there were also many success stories.

“This new site of communal agribusiness is truly one to be proud of,” she added.

The Hacienda Gamboa Barangay Mabini Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association (HGBMARBA) with 30 members will manage the 5,000-square meter communal vegetable farm initially planted with bitter gourd, string beans, squash, cabbage, chili pepper, sweet potato, and mushroom.

The property is formerly owned by Eduardo Gamboa/Spouses Edwin and Brenda Cornel, with a total area of 41.6674 hectares, located at Hacienda Gamboa in Barangay Mabini, Cadiz City.

To sustain greater production volume, the launching of the Buhay sa Gulay and Farm Business School (FBS) will help the farmers to integrate their farming activities into a joint-agribusiness venture, the DAR said.

The agency said Farm Business School is organized for farmers to learn farm business management.

It aims to capacitate the participants with entrepreneurial and fundamental management skills through the learning-by-doing approach, developing critical concepts and exercises designed to help the farmers build knowledge, enhance their skills and adjust their attitudes to make their farms more profitable, it added.

The implementation of the project is geared towards the goal of building resiliency for agrarian communities, it said, adding that specifically, the objective is to enhance and sustain the agricultural productivity of agrarian communities as an adaptation measure towards resilience.

The DAR, through its Program Beneficiaries Development Division (PBDD), constitutes development and support services interventions through the provision of training programs, and construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure facilities.

Access for agrarian reform beneficiary (ARB) households to basic social services is also included in this sector to ensure holistic support for the farmer beneficiaries.

In Western Visayas, the pilot site for the integration of the communal vegetable farm is located at Barangay Alangilan in Bacolod City managed by Benez ARB Farmers Association, which is an assisted cooperative of DAR Negros Occidental I.

Meanwhile, also present at the activity were DAR-Negros Occidental I PBDD Officer-In-Chare Chief Agrarian Reform Program Officer Aisha May Ardiente, Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer Hannah Jubay, Barangay Mabini Captain Rosevil Villarin, and Cadiz City Cooperative Development Division Representatives Mirasol Gane, Jessa Villaceran, and Jordan Asuzena, among others. (With PR)