(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Monday, 04 March 2024) Northeast Monsoon affecting Luzon. Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur, will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Easterlies/Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Moderate to strong winds coming from Northeast to East will prevail with moderate to rough seas (1.2 to 2.8 meters).


Tuesday, 18 July 2023

Kitcharao: ally in food security

By Nora C. Lanuza

BUTUAN CITY – Anchored on the owing battle cry on food for all, the local government unit of the municipality of Kitcharao in Agusan del Norte accepted the challenge and offered a ray of hope.

The town of Kitcharao, with a land area of 171.92 square kilometers, served as domicile of the locals of the place who farm and fish, as their bread and butter.

Situated in the heart of the town is a three-hectare lot at Sitio Lapucon in Barangay Crossing, where a P34.5 million farm facility stood strong as a game changer in agriculture, the Kitcharao LGU Farm.

A shift to integrated farming

There was antagonism on local farmers who believed there is no pot of gold in traditional farming, thus prompted the LGU to campaign for integrated farming - the best practice within the four corners of the Kitcharao LGU Farm.

As defined, integrated farming is a sustainable agricultural approach and method that integrates livestock, crop production, fish, poultry, tree crops, plantation crops and other systems that benefit each other.

Knowing the plight of the local farmers and fisherfolks, Kitcharao Mayor Jenry Montante through the LGU built and managed the Kitcharao LGU Farm primarily to elevate the livelihood of the town, capacitate and empower the hard working farmers and fisherfolk with new farming and fishing techniques and the use of modern equipment, and make the Kitcharao a place flowing with fresh and affordable vegetables, poultry, fishery products, rice and others, where locals will never starve and live in abundance despite the changing times.

As an accredited learning site for agriculture and farm school, Mayor Montante recalled and shared the journey of the many dreamers who were with him in putting up the said facility.

“I want our farmers to learn and be guided with the modern way of farming, with the help of our agriculturists, experts of the field, workers and partner agencies like the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), they will be guided on how to practice integrated farming with the use of modern technology and equipment,” said Mayor Montante.

On the same advocacy, Dr. Raul del Agua, the municipal agriculturist wanted the local rice farmers to do away with mono-cropping. “We have our training center and demonstration farm. We will train them because we want them to increase their income and provide them sources of food through integrated farming,” he emphasized.

“Also, the local rice farmers can avail of the free training on the production of goat, hog, native chicken as well as vegetable production, which are considered as components of the integrated farming,” del Agua elaborated.

Marty Billones is just one of the many local farmers in Kitcharao who is proud to share their stories. “I am thankful to the government, especially to our local officials for supporting us and for teaching us new ways to improve our farming knowledge and skills, so we are now self-reliant and our livelihood will be stable,” said Billones.

At present, the facility has also shown a huge potential to be an agri-tourism hub and destination with its estimated 2,000 square meter fish pond for tilapia production and fishing which is surrounded by cottages where visitors can comfortably relax after a good catch and harvest, as expansion and innovation are part of its roadmap.

From scratch in 2021, the Kitcharao LGU Farm has already trained and supported a total of 300 farmers, and its doors continue to welcome others who believe that there is always food for everyone. (RLE/NCLM/PIA-Caraga)