Capitol hosts Agro-Trade Fair: Yolanda-hit farmers’ recovery underway
Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - August 7, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Farmers from the Yolanda-stricken towns in the northern part of Cebu province are now back in business albeit still recuperating from the calamity that hit them a few months back.

This as they are currently joining the Agro-Trade Fair that is being organized by the provincial government this week at the Cebu Capitol grounds as part of the province's 445th anniversary celebration. 

Several farmers from Nothern Cebu towns -- Sogod, San Remegio, Carmen, Pilar and Poro of Camotes Island, and Bantayan of Bantayan Island, among others are trading their farm products and delicacies to both local and foreign consumers.

The Sogod Federation of Farmers said its joining in the event is a clear indication that farmers are recovering and returning to farming business despite some challenges. 

Federation president Ines Densing told The FREEMAN yesterday that their members are hoping to sell all of their products at the end of the trade fair to help augment the organization's funds.

"Kining mahalin namo sa fair kay mao ni mapunta sa pondo para sa federation nga para pud sa financial assistance sa mga mag-uuma," Densing said, noting the fund money is used for the microfinance programofthe farmers.

To help members start a farming enterprise, the federation allocates the fund money to provide a startup capital of P1,000 for each member with an interest rate of two percent.          

"Salamat sa Ginoo, maayo ra among halin sukad pagsugod sa fair. Kay daghan man pud abot sa mga utanon gikan sa Sogod nga gidala dinhi unya ubay-ubay napud ang nanganhi," the woman added.

Meanwhile, the Farmer Scientists Association of Tuburan, mostly comprised of banana farmers that were hard hit by Yolanda are likewise on the road to recovery.

"Pila kabuwan nagkalisod gyod ang mga growers sa saging didto kay mao man gyod to ang napurohan sa bagyo pero tungod sa among kadasig ug paninguha, hinay-hinay ra intawon ming nakabangon," said 47-year-old Bebelinda Oyoa, an association member.           

Oyoa and her fellow farmers have called on the government to extend some help such as seeds, fertilizers and capital money, even if coursed through a microfinance scheme.

Nida Pongautan, a farmer from Carmen, revealed that famers in their town are still hoping for help from the government to fasttrack their recovery especially on the area of farming.

"Sa tinuod lang gyod di pa hingpit among pagbangon pero naninguha gyod mi nga makabalik mi sa among naandan nga panginabuhi ug negosyo," the 54-year-old woman said.

The Office of the Provincial Agriculture said the trade fair is an effective way to help those that were affected by typhoon Yolanda to boost their livelihood and income.

On the other hand, dairy farmers in Cebu are also displaying their milk products which are sourced and made locally.

Teresita Marikit, vice chairman of Cebu Federation of Dairy Cooperatives, expressed hopes that the local residents would patronize the local milk goods and other dairy products in order to boost the fledging dairy industry in the Philippines.

Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala already said before that despite the absence of quick solution to the problems hounding the industry, having the proper technologies and involvement would surely help solve the present concerns.

Marikit emphasized there is a need for milk stakeholders to increase milk production of dairy cows. CEFEDCO was supported by the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund of DA with hopes to upgrade the milk collection and processing facilities here.

Meanwhile, at least 39 towns and cities, 37 private companies and five food exhibitors are trading at the fair until August 8. (FREEMAN)


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