DA and partners recognize the farmers, fishers as food heroes, highlight role in preserving heritage

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Farmers and fishers play a vital role to ensuring food security as they are the backbones of the agriculture industry. During the Farmers’ and Fisherfolk’s Month culmination which was facilitated by the Department of Agriculture – Cordillera (DA-CAR) at the Melvin Jones Football Grounds, Baguio City on May 30. It recognized the region’s food heroes and the indigenous and locally-produced agricultural products with competitive advantage in the bigger markets.
DA Undersecretary for Rice Industry Development Engr. Christopher Morales, in his keynote message, underscored the region’s contribution in the agriculture sector particularly on semi-temperate vegetables that vupplies more than 80% of local markets primarily in Metro Manila and other urban cities in parts of Luzon and Visayas. He thanked the farmers and fisherfolk who continue to till the lands and navigate the waters towards ensuring food security and sustaining communities.
He also lauded the DA-CAR and its partner-stakeholders for the realization of the first ever cook-out of a giant paella with a twist as it features various indigenous and locally-produced agricultural products in the region, thus the term “Paella a la Cordillera”. These products include the Chong-ak heirloom rice of Kalinga; longanisa of Abra; pinuneg (blood sausage) and kini-ing (smoked meat) of Benguet, native chicken of upland Cordillera, and the highland vegetables from the good agricultural practices-certified farms in Benguet and Mountain Province.
“We congratulate you all on this milestone which not only represents a culinary feat but more importantly serves as a profound testament to the richness and diversity of the Cordillera’s local produce that must be preserved. Let us then remain committed to preserving our cultural heritage and fostering sustainable agricultural practices for the decades to come,” Usec. Morales said.
Meanwhile, Kalinga Governor James Edubba also underlined that the regional culmination is not only an acknowledgement of the farmers and fisherfolk but it is also a call to action.
“It urges us to continue supporting the farmers and fisherfolk, to innovate and adapt to sustainable practices, and to ensure that the fruits of our labor are preserved and valued. By doing so, we capture the true essence of our heritage and transform it into value that benefits our entire community,” he said. Accordingly, the farmers and fisherfolk are not just producers of food but they are also the stewards of their community’s cultural and natural heritage.
Baguio City Councilor Hon. Max Edwin Jr., Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative, representing Mayor Benjamin Magalong, also said that the culminating event is not an end but actually a new beginning in renewing commitments to honor and support the farmers and fishers, at the same time, upholding and preserving our heritage and capturing the values that have sustained us through the years.
The DA to come up with programs and projects that are tailored to the needs of the different agricultural communities.
“Sisiguraduhin natin na ang ating mga programa at proyekto ay naka-angkla sa ating mga prayoridad upang patuloy na maitaas ang antas ng agrikultura sa ating bansa sa kabila ng mga pagsubok na ating nararanasan sa kasalukuyan,” Usec. Morales said.
Daniel Atayde, DA Assistant Secretary for Logistics, also expressed his profound gratitude to the local farmers and fisherfolk for their resilience and steadfastness amidst the challenges.
Mr. Joel Pascual of the World Food Expo (WOFEX), on the other hand, emphasized the importance of public-private partnership in pushing for agricultural development in the communities. He specifically mentioned the promotion and marketing of products which is among the reasons for the paella cook-out.
Aside from the ceremonial cooking of the Paella a la Cordillera, a mini-agri serbisyo fair was also conducted at the venue for the promotion of different agri-fishery services offered in the region. Varied agri-fishery products of the assisted farmers’ cooperatives and associations were also put on display.**Janice B. Agrifino


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