From Karosa to wheelers
by Carl Ulysses Aguillon/DA-PRDP/RPCO-12
KORONADAL CITY – For so long, farmers in a community in Barangay Poblacion, Norala, South Cotabato delivered their sacks of rice into the market through their karosa.
Karosa is a local term of a farm cart used by Filipino farmers, usually pulled by a carabao, in transporting rice produce and other commodities from their farms.
“It was our only mean in bringing our produce from this area up to the pick-up point,” Cesar Suoberon, tilling a 2-hectare rice field in the area for more than 30 years, explained.
“Only our carabao and the Karosa can pass the area because of the road’s ugly condition.”
Suoberon added that haulers would tend to backtrack from picking their produce in the area because the road was almost impassable, muddy and even always denied them of fresh products reaching the heart of Norala.
“But now, we are happy that come our harvest time, we will no longer use Karosa, instead, truckers will directly come to our areas and pick our produce because of this road project,” the exultant farmer stated.
Suoberon confirmed that multiple-wheeled vehicles are now freely passing their production areas.
“Big trucks are now always bypassing this road making it easier for us to deliver our produce,” he added.
The Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) in partnership with the Local Government Unit of Norala just recently completed the 1.7-kilometer road concreting project in Barangay Poblacion named Rehabilitation of Purok Taurus-Central Balabago Farm-to-Market Road (FMR).
The P18.9-M worth of infra project, which benefits 500 farmers including Mr. Suoberon, covers a service area of 900 hectares.
This project is under the infrastructure development component of DA-PRDP which aims to build strategic network of rural logistics infrastructure within priority value chains in targeted program areas.
Last year, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol praised the project for its culture of no corruption.
“With PRDP’s culture of no corruption, we are contributing to changing the culture of the Philippine political leaders,” the agri chief said.
The PRDP is a six-year program implemented by the DA with the World Bank for the creation of an inclusive, value-oriented and climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries sector.
No hauling fee
Aside from the aforesaid benefits, Mr. Alex Parreño of Barangay Poblacion noted that the road project will now ensure them of free hauling fee since truckers will certainly penetrate their area because of better road condition.
He stated that rice truckers before often complained of the murky way that sometimes led the farmers’ transported products to tumble and these haulers would chose to just wait in a designated pick-up point rather than going straight to the area.
This subsequently steered for Mr. Parreño and his fellow farmers to pay additional hauling fee.
“We paid the hauling for fifteen pesos per sack before, but now it will be different because we will surely pay nothing,” the 67-year old farmer said.
Easy access to social services
Both Parreño and Suoberon are agreeable that with the advent of a concrete road, constituents in the area are now reaping wider array of benefits.
“We are now less worried of medical emergencies,” Suoberon said.
The farmer further noted that the DA-PRDP road project enabled them to bring speedily their ill family members to the hospital or clinic.
Parreño also added that authorities could now easily respond to untoward incidents in their area.
“Before, police personnel were sometimes hesitant to respond… the road condition prevented them to instantly report to the crime scene,” he said. (PR No. 1, January 16, 2017)