BACOLOD City – Agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) were urged to participate in sugar block farming.
A project of the Department of Agrarian Reform, sugar block farming allows ARB cooperatives to cultivate sugarcane on pieces of land given to its members, being Certificate of Landownership Award holders.
“We raise the production level by consolidating the small pieces of land that were distributed to ARBs to be managed by their cooperatives,” said Undersecretary Rosalina Bistoyong.
Bistoyong was in Negros Occidental yesterday to turn over 120-horsepower tractors worth P17 million to four ARB cooperatives in Bago City.
After that, she headed to Barangay Robles, La Castellana to serve as guest speaker at the 11th General Assembly of the Hacienda Malaga Cuenca Agrarian Reform Cooperative (formerly Macarben), a sugar block farming group.
Hacienda Malaga Cuenca Agrarian Reform Cooperative currently produces 96 tons of sugarcane per hectare, compared to the 62 tons when it was not yet engaged in sugar block farming, said Bistoyong.
The DAR provides demonstrations, equipment and other forms of assistance to ARB cooperatives participating in sugar block farming.
Negros Occidental has the biggest number of sugar block farms in the Philippines – 36 out of the 92 that the DAR has helped set up – Bistoyong said.
Bistoyong clarified that only ARB cooperatives may participate in sugar block farming. The project does not cover individual farmers, whether or not they are ARBs./PN