“Grow your garden of vegetables.”

This was the message of Negros Occidental Second District Rep. Alfredo Marañon III to the farmers and farmworkers in Sagay City for them to increase their income for their families during the 2nd Harvest Festival in the city’s High-Value Crops and Commodities Farm at Barangay Paraiso recently.

Marañon recognized the efforts of the farmers who continue to work on increasing the production of the government-run vegetable farm in the area.

“We should change our mindset, we need to grow our own [vegetable] garden for us to produce more crops and increase our income in the future,” he said.

The Harvest Festival is an annual event led by the City Agriculture Office to showcase the bounty of vegetable harvest on the vegetable farm and for other barangays to replicate this program for food security within communities.

This vegetable farm located in the city’s ecozone was started during the pandemic to provide vegetables and food to all the barangays in the city.

“Now, it will be replicated in various barangays to encourage farmers and their families to plant high-value crops,” the congressman also said.

The event was also attended by Department of Agriculture-Western Visayas Acting Director Peter Sobrevega, Provincial Agriculturist Edmundo Causing, Councilors Arthur Christopher Marañon and Perfecto Marañon, City Agriculturist Julie Delima, Barangay Paraiso Chief Pepito Flores, representatives from regional, provincial, and city agriculture offices, farmers, and 4H Club, an organization of young farmers in Sagay.

From January to November this year, the vegetable farm yielded 17,072 kilograms of high-value crops.

Among these HVCs are bitter, sponge, and bottle gourds, cucumber, pole sitao, carrots, pechay, siling labuyo, siling haba, eggplant, okra, squash, sweet potato, and cassava.

Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee Chairperson on Agriculture Perfecto Marañon said that these vegetables will help Sagaynon farmers to diversify their crops and create a livelihood.

“We want to show to our farmers the impact of crop diversification through this program and for them not to be reliant on sugarcane,” the official said.

He also said that the local government is already creating programs to modernize farming in the city, with the help of the DA and Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA).

He added that the city has already acquired modern farm equipment to reduce manual labor in various farms that produce rice, and other crops.

Meanwhile, Councilor Arthur Marañon, in his message, highlighted the importance of food security in the city, adding that this farm project was a “silver lining” during the pandemic as it provided food for Sagaynons during lockdowns.

He said that he is grateful for the partnership of various institutions in the city, like DepEd-Sagay City, City Agriculture Office, various farmer associations, and stakeholders of the industry, adding that through these multi-sectoral partnerships, the program will be sustained and replicated to all barangays of Sagay. (PR)