Sta. Josefa, Agusan del Sur- The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Agusan del Sur held a ceremonial ribbon-cutting to formally turn-over the 4.139 km. NRJ Poblacion- Concepcion- Sayon Farm-to-Market Road last October 22, 2019 at Sta. Josefa, Agusan del Sur.

The P24.8 million project is part of the infra component under the P110-million project investment for Rice Production, Processing and Marketing of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Project Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment (Project ConVERGE) for the rice farmers in Veruela, Trento, Bunawan and Sta. Josefa (VETREBUNS) ARC Cluster of Agusan del Sur.

Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Jamil P. Amatonding Jr. said that by providing these farmers with access to market is expected to boost their income by 30% which is the goal of the project.

“Because of the lesser cost of labor, the challenge in bringing their produce to the right market with easier time travelled faced by 805 direct beneficiaries in the area and even the 2,477 indirect beneficiaries from neighboring barangays will be addressed.” He said.

Secretary John R. Castriciones who graced the occasion said that the provision of rural infrastructures along with other support services shows the recognition of the government to the farmers as the true hero of the country.

“This initiative is aligned by President Duterte’s directive to pursue a more aggressive agrarian reform program to ensure that the farmer-beneficiaries are given with the needed services to uplift their economic capabilities.”

“We want to increase their agricultural production and household income. That’s why these are being provided to enhance the support systems of our ARBs.” Castriciones said.

Assisting the secretary in the ribbon cutting were Undersecretaries Bernie F. Cruz of the Foreign-Assisted and Special Projects Office (FASPO)and Carim L. Panumpang of Special Concerns, Sta. Josefa Mayor Symond D. Caguiat, Regional Director Leomides R. Villareal, Assistant Regional Director Daylinda Paz Narisma, Assistant Regional Director Agnes Dela Cerna, PARPO II Jamil P. Amatonding Jr., PARPO I Allan N. Mundala and Provincial Agriculturist Armando Valiente representing Agusan Sur Governor Santiago Cane.

Mayor Caguiat, in his acceptance message, expressed his gratefulness to the department for choosing the Municipality of Sta. Josefa as the recipient of the road project.

“For decades, residents of these barangays hardly sell their products due to the poor road condition that posed an inefficient means to transport it to the market.” He said.

“But today, with DAR’s intervention, we are few steps closer towards being a successful individual. Thank you to DAR.” He added.

Project ConVERGE is co-funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

As a message of thanksgiving from the people of Sta. Josefa, Taphagan Festival dancers rendered a street dancing presentation for the visitors gracing the event.