ARBOs Remain Covid-free
Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Organizations (ARBO) in Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur Provinces remain covid free. This is the result of the ARBO covid-19 quick assessment conducted by SEDPI on April 20-24, 2020.
While some ARBOs have completely stopped operations, 36% or ten (10) out of twenty-eight (28) participating ARBOs continue to provide services to farmers in their communities. These services include irrigation, farm machinery rental, catfish culture, animal dispersal, and farm monitoring.
ARBO farmer members still manage their individual farms. However, due to the strict implementation of the community quarantine, senior citizen farmers are unable to do so.
Pambansang Mananalon, Mag-uuma, Magbabaul, Magsasakang Pilipinas, Inc. Farmers Association (P4MP-FA) of Upper Katungal in Tacurong City, reported that they have temporarily stopped their microfinance services since members failed to pay their dues due to the lockdown. At the same time, the farmers’ economic activity is put on hold because of restrictions in selling produce and other goods in the market.
One ARBO in Sarangani, Alkikan Vegetables Growers Association (ALVEGA), continues to consolidate vegetables funnelling it to a local bagsakan and a huge grocery in General Santos City. On the other hand, Upper Biangan Farmers Association (UBFA) who offers micro insurance services has twice provided relief goods and cash assistance to their members. Only three (3) of the twenty-eight (28) ARBOs have received assistance as an organization from their local barangay and municipal government.
During this quarantine period, some ARBO members in Cotabato, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur have volunteered in the Bantay Covid initiatives of their barangays by manning border outposts.