Filipino Food Month seen to help promote local agriculture

Local farmers and fishers also get the spotlight as the agriculture sector joins the celebration of the Filipino Food Month this April.

With the theme “Iba’t Ibang Luto, Pinoy ang Puso”, this year’s observance of the Filipino Food Month or Buwan ng Kalutong Pilipino will showcase fresh produce, spices, meat products, and “lutong Pinoy” through the Kadiwa stores of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Authentic Filipino cuisine and regional recipes will also be featured in a webinar series by DA bureaus and attached agencies, including the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) network. Among the featured dishes from the ATI are “pinuneg” or meat-based sausage from the Cordilleras; “kaluko” or taro in sweet coconut milk from Bicol; “hubhob”, a local delicacy in Eastern Visayas made of cassava and coconut; and “palagsing” or sticky rice made from sago starch from Caraga.

The Filipino Food Month is an annual celebration led by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the DA, and the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement (PCHM). This is in accordance with Presidential Proclamation No. 469 of 2018, which aims to promote and preserve Filipino culinary treasures and traditions.

DA officials have expressed support for the celebration not only to strengthen the advocacy of cooking and eating native food, but also to promote the importance of local produce for nutrition, and help increase the income of farmers and fishers who continue to play a vital role in ensuring food security.

“We, at the Department of Agriculture, enjoin you to take a moment to reflect on the contributions of our farmers and fishers, for their food security contributions, and their roles as frontliners during the pandemic,” DA Secretary William Dar said in a statement.

Exhibits and a filmmaking competition will also be held to mark the occasion.

For the schedule of the webinars, visit the official Facebook pages of the Filipino Food Month and the ATI on @FilipinoFoodMonthOfficial and @atiinteractive, respectively. The series will stream on these platforms from April 7 to April 29, 2021. # # # (Erika Z. Vizcarra, DA-ATI)

DA-XII recognizes the strengths of every Juana in agri-fishery sector

The Department of Agriculture 12 culminated  its month-long celebration of 2021 National Women’s Month on March 31, 2021.

In his talk, DA 12 Regional Executive Director Arlan Mangelen honored the extraordinary roles and contributions of every Juana in the agri-fishery sector.

“Nirerecognize po natin ang strengths ng bawat kababaihan..Saludo po ako sa kanilang dedikasyon at mga adbokasiya sa ating society,” the director said.

Series of activities were participated by the DA 12 employees such as the Indak Juana: The Ani at Kita Dance Competition, Save Juana: The DA RFO 12 bloodletting activity and the roll out of Kadiwa ni Juana in front of the DA 12 building.

This year’s celebration revolves on the theme, “Juana Laban sa Pandemya: Kaya!”


NTA proposes P597-M for priority projects 

The National Tobacco Administration has proposed priority projects worth P597-million for 2021 as it rolls out block farming for tobacco production next cropping season.

The performance and fiscal targets for the priority projects were presented during the virtual meeting of Operations Group presided by Deputy Administrator for Operations Roberto R. Bonoan on January 6.

These include new livelihood programs such as Chicken Layer Assistance and Goat Production, with P24.8-million combined budget, and the expanded coverage of the Beef Cattle Production and Gulayan at Manukan sa Barangay, with P31.2-million budget. The last two projects were introduced last year with P20-million budget in support of the food sufficiency program of the Department of Agriculture and part of the intervention to support the farmers during the pandemic.

According to Bonoan, the coverage expansion of the livelihood programs was upon the directive of Administrator Robert Victor G. Seares Jr in response to the request of farmers to include more beneficiaries, which will be clustered for a package of production assistance under the tobacco block farm program.

Tobacco Block Farming is a new model of tobacco production introduced under the Sustainable Tobacco Enhancement Program (STEP), the five-year development roadmap of the industry, to increase farmers’ income and productivity.

This is on top of the regular projects such as the expanded Tobacco Contract Growing System, rice production, curing barn assistance, improved tobacco seedling production, solar-powered irrigation system, and tobacco farm mechanization program, worth P520.45 million in all, with request for alignment of additional budget from the Tobacco Fund. Last year, the agency had P345.19-million budget for the same projects.

Other projects, such as the hog fattening program under the NTA Kadiwa, vegetable seeds distribution, solar-powered irrigation system, and Kahuyang Pangkabuhayan at Pangkalikasan (KPP) are financed by the Corporate Funds.

According to Bonoan, the agency has started the pilot of tobacco block farming in the Branch Offices, or eight model farms in tobacco-growing provinces, including the one in Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur, which was visited by Agriculture Secretary William Dar on Saturday.

“Full implementation of the block farming will start in July in time for the Rice Wet Season to ensure the success of the agribusiness scheme and the extent of its importance to the tobacco growers,” said Bonoan.

In Photo: Tobacco production under the Tobacco Block Farm Model in Silag, Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur. Block farming helps the agency facilitate the provision of appropriate training and technologies, including farm inputs, farm equipment and machinery and other interventions and assistance for farmers’ productivity. # # #  (Text: Melanie Rapiz-Parel & Photo by James Canosa, NTA Candon]