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7 Pangasinan farmer organizations sold agricultural items worth P263 million.

Through the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP), an inter-agency government program started by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger, seven agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) in the province of Pangasinan have sold agricultural products worth PHP263 million since 2020. (IATF-ZH).

The Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty initiative, which started in 2016 and was rebranded EPAHP in 2019, includes over 25 government entities, including the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), according to an interview with Zarena Ann Amado, the DAR’s provincial information officer for Pangasinan.

“The EPAHP was adopted in Pangasinan in 2019. In order to develop marketing agreements with ARBOs, the DAR Provincial Office started holding meetings with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in provincial offices this year “She spoke.

She continued by saying that when the pandemic struck the nation in 2020, DAR and BJMP entered into a memorandum of arrangement through the EPAHP that allowed the latter to create marketing agreements with the ARBOs.

The Gualsic Agricultural Cooperative, an ARBO supported by DAR with most of its members working as vegetable farmers, is one of the benefactors, according to Amado.

“The organization is one of the ARBOs in Pangasinan with the largest gross product sales. Since signing their marketing agreement in 2020, the cooperative has sold PHP1.75 million in produce to BJMP, according to her.

The Bantog Samahang Nayon Multipurpose Cooperative (BSNMPC), located in Asingan, Pangasinan, is another ARBO.

“BSNMPC is among the most prosperous ARBOs in the entire country. It was chosen to be the ARBO beneficiary of the initiative for the development of village-level farms in 2019. The Department of Commerce and Industry, the Department of Science and Technology, and the Local Government Unit collaborated to help BSNMPC strengthen its dairy product processing business and obtain a license from the Food and Drug Administration, according to the spokesperson.

She continued by saying that during the same year, the DAR also contributed money for the upkeep of its processing facility, which is situated in Barangay Bantog.

“In 2020, the School-Based Feeding Program Milk Component of the Department of Education (DepEd) Pangasinan II contracted BSNMPC’s services. For two years, DepEd’s 52,000 target beneficiaries in Pangasinan II have received pasteurized carabao milk from the ARBO, the only dairy-producing firm in Eastern Pangasinan, she said.

The DAR Central Office has acknowledged the ARBO as the top-performing ARBO under the hunger mitigation project after it sold products worth a total of PHP255 million.

The other ARBOs, according to Amado, is the Rang-Ay Upland Integrated Farmers Association, Inc. of Bani, Aliguas Dumaralos na Buenlag, Inc. of Calasiao, both of which are affiliated with the BJMP in Dagupan City; the Carosalesan Irrigators Consumer Cooperative of Umingan; the Evangelista Agrarian Reform Cooperative; the BJMP in Balungao; and Saint Pascal Ba

According to Maria Ana Francisco, regional director of DAR in the Ilocos area, “EPAHP is one of the most significant projects of the government.”

The DepEd and vegetable-producing ARBOs participated in a series of marketing forums that the DAR Pangasinan organized, and farmer groups from eastern, western, and central Pangasinan are currently developing a supply plan that the DepEd may take into account for the SBFP’s nutritional food pack and milk components for students.

Amado claimed that certain ARBOs have also signed marketing contracts with BSNMPC that require them to pledge a portion of their produce to the latter if it wins the next bid.

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