ARBs find ready market for their vegetables in Sarangani jail

Published October 5, 2020, 5:01 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

Agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in Region 12 have delivered 2,000 kilograms of fresh vegetables to the detainees of a city jail in Sarangani province.

The delivery of agricultural products was made through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Soccsksargen (Region 12).

The Alkikan Vegetable Growers Association (ALVEGA) already made its series of deliveries, before the end of September, of around 2,000 kilograms of fresh vegetables in the male dormitory of a city jail in Sarangani province.

In a statement, DAR-Soccsksargen Regional Director Marion Abella said the ALVEGA, which is an agrarian reform beneficiaries’ organization (ARBO) in Malungon, Sarangani province sold eggplants, squash, bitter gourds (ampalaya), cabbage, carrots and other vegetables produced by its 39 farmer-members to the city jail.

He said the marketing tie-up agreement facilitated by the DAR under the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty program (EPAHP) intends to boost the livelihood of the ARBO and their farmer-members and improve the nutritious food supply of the detainees.

Under the agreement, ALVEGA will deliver fresh and healthy vegetables to the jail for the daily nutritional needs of all its inmates. This initiative also aims to increase farm productivity and income, ensure food and nutrition security, and mitigate hunger and malnutrition in the urban and rural communities, Abella said.

The ALVEGA expressed its gratitude to the DAR and BJMP for their concerted effort to implement a marketing agreement between their organization and BJMP.

The marketing agreement gave us a feeling of security, that despite the pandemic, we are assured of an established and sure outlet for our products since we have embarked for a collective marketing scheme with BJMP, the ALVEGA said.

The three deliveries that were made benefitted around 1,400 detainees.

During the previous signing of the MOU, DAR Secretary John Castriciones lauded the BJMP for giving their commitment to help strengthen the farming sector by opening their agency as a marketing outlet for the farmers’ products.

The department initiated the undertaking as part of the government’s vision to zero hunger incidents by year 2030 under the EPAHP.

DAR Undersecretary for Support Services Office Emily Padilla noted that with BJMP’s commitment, the farmers will be spared from dealing with middlemen or traders, who usually buy farmers’ produce at a very low price.