BY LEANDER C. DOMINGO
ARITAO, Nueva Vizcaya (April 1, 2023)—The Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 2 (DA-RFO2) has gathered for the Onion Forum more than 1,000 onion stakeholders in Nueva Vizcaya to work together to resolve issues the industry faces, according to DA-RFO2 Executive Director Narciso Edillo.
In collaboration with the Municipal Local Government Unit of Aritao led by Mayor Remelina Peros-Galam, and the Provincial Local Government Unit of Nueva Vizcaya headed by Gov. Carlos Padilla, the forum was joined by representatives of government agencies and companies from the private sector.
The forum through the High-Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) was held in Aritao town which is tagged as Cagayan Valley’s Onion Capital, on March 29, 2023.
Nueva Vizcaya Lone District Rep. Luisa Lloren Cuaresma hailed the conduct of the forum for the government to listen to the grievances of onion farmers in the region.
Cuaresma noted that everyone’s cooperation is important in resolving issues in the industry. “Rest assured that my support to you, our dear farmers, will continue.”
Peros-Galam also expressed thanks to the DA-RFO2 for the support extended to farmers in her town. “Just like the red creole variety of red onion, our intense and warm welcome, and gratitude to everyone.”
Onion farmers who attended the forum were from Aritao, Alfonso Castañeda, and Bambang towns in Nueva Vizcaya province; Santo Niño in Cagayan province; and Roxas town in Isabela province.
According to Edillo, the forum serves as a way to talk about being cooperative to ensure integration in production and marketing.
During the forum, the DA-HVCDP presented to industry stakeholders the programs and projects of the public and private sectors for agriculture toward higher production and food security.
Edillo noted that cooperation is important in solving the problems faced by the sector. “It’s good to have a united movement and let’s organize so that we can harvest a lot and simultaneously use the support provided by the government.”
Some of the questions raised by the farmers in the open forum were about the price of cold storage, cooperative matters, onion price determination, and market linkage for their produce.
In a message by DA Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban through his representative Director U-Nichols Manalo, DA officer in charge of Field Operations Services, said “the solution to farmers’ problems is not the government’s only obligation. We all have responsibilities in the development of the sector so we must work together.”
Manalo explained that the department conducted this meeting to discuss the issues that farmers are currently concerned about, to propose solutions to these issues, and to plan for the future.
Enrique de la Cruz of the National HVCDP representing Director Gerald Glenn Panganiban shared the three pillars of the policy that the DA is promoting: to strategize or think carefully about the programs and measures to be taken; to synergize or cooperate and carry them out together, and to optimize or look at the overall perspective of aspects connected with them.
Meanwhile, Dr. Rose Mary Aquino, DA-RFO2 regional technical director for Research and Regulatory, urged the farmers to work together “because we all have a responsibility to grow and provide quality onions to our consumers, especially in Cagayan Valley.”
Introducing the overview of the forum, Dr. Roberto Busania, DA-RFO2 regional technical director for Operations and Extension, explained that increasing the production in the region is also increasing the region’s contribution to the country’s production.
HVCDP Region 2 coordinator Carol Albay thanked those who attended the forum and urged them to work together for the development of the agriculture industry.