Biyaheng Bukid reaches Batangas province

Biyaheng Bukid reaches Batangas province
Lipa City, Batangas – Farmers and fisher folks in the province gathered at the Department of Agriculture - Southern Tagalog Integrated Agricultural Research Center (DA-STIARC), for a dialogue with DA Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol. 
 
The Secretary’s visit in Batangas is part of his series of Byaheng Bukid, which serves as an avenue for personal interaction with farmers and fishermen and consultation with Local Government executives on issues related to agriculture and fisheries. 
 
Some concerns that came up during the open forum were, continuous operation of fish cages surrounding Taal Lake and water pollution in the area. The issue was raised by Mr. Conrado Calapatia, a retired Philippine Navy Commander turned organic farmer. According to Calapatia, the operation of fish cages kills the migratory and indigenous fish species in the lake, making it also harder for small-scale fishermen to catch fishes. 
 
Secretary Piñol advised the local government of Agoncillo to take action on the issue. He made sure that the matter will be discussed in a separate meeting with the LGU executives. 
 
“I will assure you na ako mismo, naniniwala na dapat talagang pangalagaan ang inland bodies of water,” added Piñol. 
 
Selected audiences were also given the chance to voice out requests of their respective organizations and or communities. The Secretary committed fund assistance to boost production of garlic and onion in the province and marketing support for ready-to-eat roasted eggs of Batangas Egg Producers Cooperative (BEPCO). 
 
Meanwhile, Piñol also underscored three important factors that will improve the situation of farmers and fisher folks in the country: Technology Transfer, Easy Access to Financing and Marketing support. He introduced the Agricultural Guide Map that can provide data on the type of crops suitable to lands; production loans to local cooperatives and local unions; and the launching of TienDA Farmers Outlet that will give an opportunity for farmers to sell their produce. 
 
The audience was pleased and thankful for the support given by the Department to the province, as farm implements were also distributed to LGUs, under the procurement of DA- Regional Field Office IV-A.
 
Biyaheng Bukid was held last July 25, 2017. It was well-attended by DA officials, Local Government Units executives, regional heads of some DA bureaus, including Agricultural Training Institute in CaLaBaRZon’s Center Director, Ms. Marites Piamonte-Cosico, accompanied by Ms. Sherylou Alfaro and Ms. Maridelle Jaurigue, farmers and fisher folks in the province.