Filipino farmers receive $100k worth of agricultural equipment
The Philippines’ Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has recently catalyzed the growth of agricultural communities in Capiz by disbursing P6.2 million ($100k) in farm machinery, equipment, and facilities. The investment was a part of the Sustainable and Resilient Agrarian Reform Communities (SuRe ARCs) project, aimed at bolstering 40 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBOs) in the region. It has allowed the support of local farmers with a wide array of essential agricultural equipment, including tractors, hand tractors, rice tillers, threshers, corn shellers, and rice reapers, along with packs of organic fertilizer and a hydroponics greenhouse facility. This strategic provision of resources is anticipated to resolve the longstanding challenges faced by farmers, particularly the scarcity of modern tools and equipment.
Among these 40 beneficiaries, one notable recipient is the Progressive Women Agrarian Reform Cooperative (PWARC) located in Barangay Gibato, Dumarao town. PWARC boasts a robust membership of over 4,000 individuals, including Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs), farmers, rural women, and small entrepreneurs from Capiz, Aklan, and Iloilo. Ma. Cecilia Ibabao, the chairperson of PWARC, expressed profound gratitude towards DAR, accrediting the organization’s growth and success over its 25-year journey to the consistent support and training provided by DAR.
PWARC’s operations have significantly expanded since its inception in 1999. The cooperative now produces 1,500 bottles of calamansi juice and 25 kilos of banana chips daily, supplying to various institutions across the provinces of Capiz, Aklan, and Iloilo. This leap in production and quality standards has been possible due to the collaborative efforts of DAR-Capiz, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Agriculture, and the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) Philippines, ensuring that their products meet the stringent standards of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In addition to its thriving food production, PWARC has diversified its services and community support programs. The cooperative runs an inland resort, provides catering services, offers scholarship programs for students, and operates a microfinance program to financially assist its members. These initiatives have been further bolstered by DAR’s continuous support, notably with a recent grant of P1.3 million ($23k) for constructing a solar-powered modernized greenhouse with hydroponics, enhancing PWARC’s agricultural production and adding an attractive feature to its resort.