Zamboanga Sibugay farmers get certificates of land ownership awards

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MANILA, Philippines — Nearly a thousand farmers in Zamboanga Sibugay have received their certificates of land ownership awards (CLOAs) from the

(DAR) in Payao town of the province.

DAR region IX director Julita Ragandang has distributed the CLOAs, covering 1,489 hectares of agricultural lands in Barangays (villages) Binangonan, Calape, La Fortuna, Lumapanac, Nanan, Kulasian and Kima, to 989 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).

ARBs in Barangays Bulawan, Guiwan, Kulasian and La Fortuna will also be provided with some P22.2 million worth of farming machinery, including threshers, tractors and reapers, and implements for rice-duck farming.

The provision, Ragandang said, would benefit over 800 farmers in Zamboanga Sibugay province.

In a statement, Ragandang said that, aside from the lands awarded to the 989 farmers, the department would provide infrastructure projects DAR and the Asian Development Bank’s Agrarian Reform Community Project (ARCP) would also provide infrastructure projects to make the lands productive.

She said, “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.”

She explained that the department has been encouraging the farmers to produce cacao, which could be bought by chocolate maker Kennemer Foods International directly from them. The chocolate manufacturer, she said, has been eyeing to seal a deal with the Payao town farmers.

“The identified area for this project (cacao production) 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,” she added.

“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 (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program),” Ragandang said.

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