Community folks from various barangays graduated from a field study on vegetable production under Kasama Ani sa Barangay (KaAniB) Program.
In a simple ceremony held in Brgy. Cupang on May 20, City Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia, III and Coun. Anselmo “Elmo” Sanchez awarded certificates to selected Balangueños who underwent the study. The training on vegetable production aims to equip residents on the basics of modern, yet safe farming.
The field study was a part of KaAniB Program, where idle lands are converted into small vegetable gardens.
After the graduation rites, Mayor Garcia led the ceremonial harvesting of organic products, while the rest of the community was also given its share.
Ms. Nerissa Mateo, City Agriculturist, said that the city government has been implementing KaAniB Program since 2008.
She also said that KaAniB’s eight years of implementation is proof of its sustainability and importance as a government intervention program on the problem of food and livelihood at the grassroots level.
In 2012, Pres. Benigno Aquino III awarded the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Pagasa Award to KaAniB as the country’s first comprehensive program on small-scale farming.
Mr. Arthur Oliveria, a mentor on organic farming, said that KaAniB is a crucial program for the economic progress of all barangays.
“Sa isang harvesting season, kumikita kami ng hanggang P20, 000.00. Kaya malaking tulong talaga ang KaAniB,” Oliveria said.
He also said that in spite of the dry spell, a small-scale vegetable farm could yield a P10 000.00-worth of organic goods.
“Naapektuhan lang kami ng tagtuyot eh. Pero kahit pa may El Niño, hindi mabigat para sa mga residente ang ibinagsak ng kita.”
Oliveria and his fellow mentors are holding trainings in various barangays. He said that they are inviting all sectors of the community, from senior citizens down to students.
On the other hand, Coun. Sanchez lamented the youth’s growing lack of interest in agriculture.
“Nakakalungkot isipin na maraming kabataan ang ayaw marumihan ang kamay sa pagtatanim,” said Sanchez.
He encouraged barangay folks to always include the youth in their agriculture-related programs, especially in KaAniB activities. He said that he has high hopes for KaAniB to become the city’s prime program to enkindle interest in agriculture among young people.
“Wala pong nakakahiya sa pagsasaka. Sa katunayan, ako at ang aking pamilya ay naitaguyod ng pagsasaka. Kaya po lagi nating himukin ang ating mga kabataan na muling magsaka sa pamamagitan ng mga ganitong programa, tulad ng KaAniB.”
The City Agriculture Office and its community partners are scouting more lands that are potential for small-scale farming, as the incoming mayor, Francis Anthony Garcia, ranks agriculture as one of his main concerns. By Arli Joshua Atienza