COTABATO CITY (PNA) – Farmers and local officials of two upland farming communities in Sultan Kudarat province lauded Friday the government for providing them a 7.48-kilometer farm-to-market road (FMR) through the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
About 5,000 residents, almost 2,000 of whom were agrarian reform beneficiaries, are enjoying the benefits of the PHP37-million concrete FMR project that connects Barangays Bugso and Gapok in Sen. Ninoy Aquino (SNA), Sultan Kudarat.
Elated by the assistance from DAR, SNA Mayor Randy L. Ecija, Jr said the project is not just for the local government, but for all the residents and farmers in the area who are mostly rice and corn farmers.
Both Mayor Ecija and Barangay Gapok chair Arnel Rollugui lauded the DAR-Mindanao Sustainable Agrarian and Agriculture Development (MinSAAD), the Department of Public Works and Highways, and DAR-Sultan Kudarat for being instrumental in the development and prosperity of their communities and promised to maintain the project.
Rollugui said farmers and residents are now assured of ease of travel and fast transport of their agricultural produce with the completion of the road network.
“Transport of our goods to the market is now easy and less expensive,” Rollugui said.
The project was officially turned over to the local government early this week.
“Farmers coming from both Gapok and Bugso now have an opportunity to improve their lives because they can now go to market centers located in both barangays to bring their produce and demand a fair price for their produce,” Rodolfo Alburo, provincial agrarian reform program officer, said.
Project manager Eduardo E. Suaybaguio, speaking on behalf of DAR Undersecretary for Foreign Assisted Projects Bernie F. Cruz, said before the road was paved with concrete, farmers and residents walk through a very narrow and rough footpath that becomes slippery whenever it rains.
“Vehicles could not drive through either. But with this FMR, the area is now accessible to all types of vehicles,” Suaybaguio said.
He said the road project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was implemented under the DAR’s MinSAAD project.