Former farm workers in Zamboanga Sibugay are happy to have finally sealed ownership to various private landholdings after the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) handed them their individual certificates of land ownership awards (CLOAs) in Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay.
DAR Regional Director Julita Ragandang recently led the distribution of CLOAs to 989 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) with Director Herman Ongkiko of Agrarian Reform Community Project (ARCP), a foreign-assisted project funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Ragandang said the properties distributed include 1,489 hectares of agricultural lands located in the barangays of Binangonan, Calape, La Fortuna, Lumapanac, Nanan, Kulasian and Kima.
All of the 989 farmer-beneficiaries said they feel they are more secured now, knowing that food would be served on their table regularly because the farms they used to work on as laborers are now theirs.
Ragandang said that aside from the lands awarded to the ARBs, DAR will also provide infrastructure projects in partnership with the ADB-ARCP, to make their lands productive.
“At present, farm-to-market roads and communal irrigation system are under construction and some roads are under rehabilitation. Agri-business development will also be introduced to farmers, like cacao production in Payao so that our ARB’s will have a ready market for their cacao produce,” said Ragandang.
Ragandang said Kennemer Foods International (KFI), makers of M&Ms chocolates, will soon have a contract with the agrarian reform beneficiaries’ organizations (ARBOs) in Payao to purchase the cacao products from them.
“The identified area for this project in the municipality of Payao is around 600 hectares. In the meantime, only 100 hectares will be utilized for cacao production for the initial implementation of the project,” added Ragandang.
Ragandang said that support services like provisions of farm machines like threshers, tractors and reapers, and rice-duck farming will be given to ARBOs in the barangays of Bulawan, Guiwan, Kulasian and La Fortuna.
“These farm implements costs of P22.2 million and will benefit 808 ARBs of Zamboanga Sibugay,” said Ragandang.
“The department will continue to help farmers to, one day, own the land they till as long as it is within the law. We also thank them for their patience and efforts to have these landholdings covered under CARP,” Ragandang said. PNA