THE Departments of Trade and Industry and Agrarian Reform jointly conducted the midyear assessment and planning workshop in August 15, 2007 at the Michoice Restaurant here in Laoag City.
In the said workshop, DTI provincial director Benjamin Garcia Jr. announced that the “One-Town, One Product” program has become successful as different products from different areas in the province were identified. Among which are processed candies and binakol products from Cabaroan Agrarian Reform Community in Sarrat; longganisa and basketry from Nagarbu ARC in Nueva Era; Malampa vinegar and Best Harvest basi from Panata ARC in Bacarra; crispy rice cracker from Pasuc ARC in Batac; hand-woven items from Naballiguian ARC in Paoay; and rice wine from Manama ARC in Badoc.
Garcia said that farmer and producers should sell and profit more and be self-reliant so that they can pay more taxes to the government; with this, the government can use these to fund the construction of roads, bridges, school buildings and other infrastructures.
DTI has also identified income-generating projects (IGP) items which would be sold in “pasalubong” areas as they are also gearing towards developing and commercializing ARC products in Ilocos Norte, especially during trade fairs, fiestas, anniversaries and other special events not only locally but also in Metro Manila.
To avoid gaps, strengths are harnessed, weaknesses are improved, proper records management, conduct of institutional development and capability building trainings are encouraged for farmer-entrepreneurs.
Ilocos Norte OIC Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer Christianne Suguitan also said during the workshop that service providers have dome much for the betterment of farmers and that the best is yet to come.
Suguitan moved for the inclusion of Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) labels in ARC products for them to be displayed in metropolitan supermarkets nationwide. She hopes this would be implemented soon.
“We have shown to the world that farmers can do it,” Suguitan said.
Meanwhile, CARPO Maximo Ruguian talked on the rationale behind extending the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) as well as other assistance on support service and livelihood projects. He also suggested the cooperation of one another in this venture.
Gertrude G. Albano, Contributor