BUTUAN CITY— Faster enactment of Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) projects in cooperation with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)  was sought in a meeting held yesterday at the Butuan Grand Palace Hotel.

The supervision implementation support mission for the Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment (Project ConVERGE) addressed roadblocks that hinder the smooth implementation of the program.

“We aim to succeed in empowering farmers with knowledge, infrastructure and other support services to uplift their living condition,” said Yolando Arban, Special Adviser to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized agency of the UN dedicated to eradicate rural poverty in developing countries.

The DAR has implemented various infrastructure and support service projects worth P62 million to more than 1,400 farming households in the Caraga Region, reported by Assistant Regional Director Daylinda Narisma during the Project ConVERGE meeting.

These include provision of farm machines, farm facilities, agricultural inputs and infrastructure. The projects were funded bythe DAR with loan proceeds from the IFAD implemented under Project ConVERGE which started in 2015 and will end in 2021.

“Project ConVERGE aims to reduce poverty by promoting sustainable livelihoods for farmers of abaca, rice, coco coir, and coffee. So far, more than 1,400 households are now benefitting from the farm-to-market roads, post-harvest facilities and potable water systems the project has implemented in the provinces of Caraga,” Narisma said.

“At present, Project ConVERGE here in Caraga has provided trainings on production technology, processing, marketing, and entrepreneurship to 8,542 small holder farmers, half of which are agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB). It has also provided farm machineries, seedlings, fertilizers and has established market linkages to farmers,” Narisma added.

The Project ConVERGE meeting was conducted to review and evaluate projects that were implemented in the last three years and projects that will be implemented until 2021.

Arban said that last November, during the projects’ midterm review, various agreements needed to be acted pertaining to the projects efforts on capacity-building for business development and market linkages.