DA, Caritas to collaborate on agricultural programs

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has partnered with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Caritas Philippines Foundation Inc. to expand the reach of the agency’s programs to the country’s farmers, fisherfolk and rural workers.

The two parties signed a memorandum of understanding at the DA Central Office in Quezon City Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, that will see them collaborate to identify potential beneficiaries of DA initiatives like the Kadiwa, the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD), training programs, grants and other types of intervention.

Kadiwa is the DA initiative that allows consumers direct access to fresh and affordable agri-fishery products from producers provided with retail selling sites. This initiative also enables the farming community to earn more as trader intermediaries are reduced or eliminated.

The SAAD, on the other hand, provides access to capital to engage in agricultural activities, as well as marketing assistance and enterprise development to help poor communities feed themselves as well as engage in entrepreneurship.

Beneficiaries are selected based on poverty incidence, and interventions given may include animals, crops, post-production inputs, tools and equipment to improve their farm and fish production practices and productivity.

Under the MOU signed by DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban and Caritas Philippines National Director Most Rev. Jose Colin Bagaforo, D.D., the DA would identify communities eligible for the agency’s programs, projects and grants.

The agency would also provide logistics, financing, capacity-building and manpower support.

Caritas Philippines, managed by Most Rev. Bagaforo and Executive Secretary Fr. Antonio Labiao Jr., on the other hand, would help the DA to identify qualified communities, organize these farmers and communities, provide logistical and manpower assistance, and help communities with proper implementation, recording, accounting and reporting of the DA projects they availed themselves of, the DA said.

The National Secretariat for Social Action/Caritas Philippines is the humanitarian, development and advocacy arm of the Catholic Church in the Philippines.

It was created by the CBCP in 1966 to help the poor and marginalized attain social justice and transformation. (CTL)