4th Barangay Agricultural Workers' Congress held in Caraga

Empowered Barangay Agricultural Workers of CARAGA.

The open blue sea, fine white sugar-like sand in the beaches, and well-preserved rivers and falls are just a few in the list of frequently visited places in CARAGA. On the way to see these picturesque views are the wide farm lands which abundantly supplies food in the whole region and its neighboring towns.

Without doubt, the main source of livelihood in Region XIII is agriculture. Thus, the increase in the number of empowered farmers or Barangay Agricultural Workers (BAW) is not a surprise. The region started having 30 BAW members from 2007 which grew every year.

On its fourth year, the Annual Barangay Agricultural Workers’ (BAWs) Congress was successfully conducted last October 13 to 15, 2015 at the Agricultural Training Institute - Regional Training Center in Butuan. ATI Center Director Robert Poculan spearheaded the congress which featured a raffle for machineries, home appliances, motorcycles, sacks of rice, and cash – simple things that give due recognition to the agricultural worker’s efforts. Other activities undertaken were duet, sports fest, Mr. and Mrs. BAW 2015 and the Balagtasan where farmers unveiled their artistic side showing off the depth of their poetry skills. All districts in the region as well poured out their efforts thereby surprising the audience of their every presentation. These events paved way to showcase the diverse talents of the BAWs outside farming.

In appreciation to the agricultural workers, ATI Director Asterio P. Saliot has been emphasizing the role of farmers as the best teachers in the field of agriculture. Being the “brain child” of the School for Practical Agriculture (SPA) which gave rise to BAW, Saliot said that “no one can teach best unless he does it too.” Hence, ATI programs are anchored on the premise that experience is the best teacher and with the farmers’ experience, they are more than capable to impart knowledge and skills on farming. He furthered for “every farm family to encourage one of their children to engage in agriculture.”

Under Saliot’s leadership, ATI has been creating programs to develop farmlands and transform it into integrated farms incorporating other innovative ways – such as Agritecture - to generate income not just through farming but also from the visitors and tours. This initiative of merging farm activities with tourism or Farm Tourism has also been pushed by the Director for farmers to see that there is money in agriculture.

Lastly, Saliot uplifted the Barangay Agricultural Workers by saying, “I believe that FARMERS are still the heroes of this country, through the great efforts of every farmer, we have food to eat.” (By: Rachel Raval)