Lupao, Nueva Ecija – Fifty farmers here who are beneficiaries of Sa Palay at Gulay, may Ani, Hanapbuhay, Oportunidad, at Nutrisyon (PAG-AHON) Project harvested vegetables from their yards today, Sept. 23.
PAG-AHON project lead, Dr. Roel Suralta of the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice), said the harvested vegetables will be brought in a consolidation area for sorting and pick-up and will be directly sold to markets and consumers.
“This is one of the DA-PhilRice’s strategies to help farmers cope with the ‘new normal’ and maintain stable food supply in their community amidst health crises,” Suralta said.
Launched in May, the project is monitored by Agriculture Secretary William Dar who joined the farmers in a ceremonial harvesting with DA Ambassador for Food Security James Reid.
The PAG-AHON project, which is a part of the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant program, aims to increase rice farmers’ harvest and income, provide them access to planting materials, and diversify their families’ sources of nutrition.
The project also features crop diversification, PhilRice-East-West Rice and vegetable techno demo, and community food hubs.
“This project is a big help to Lupao, especially that we only produce rice once a year. Thru this project, more sources of income will be provided to our farmers while ensuring their own food supply” Mayor Alex Rommel Romano said.
In late August, three vegetable growers already harvested 270 kg of pechay and mustard giving them a combined income of P10,400.
The project is implemented through a signed a memorandum of understanding with the local government of Lupao, Lupao Vegetable Growers Association (LVGA), and East West Seed Company to ensure continuous food production in the area through the PAG-AHON project.