Will you take a road that hasn’t been taken? Are you going to travel on a less traveled road?
Vehicle tires sunken in mud, goods battered during transport, and farmers unable to deliver their products in time. This was the case with the farm roads of Brgy. Janao-Janao in San Juan, Batangas. Since their registration in 2015, the Samahan ng Responsable at Nagkakaisang Magsasaka ng Brgy. Janao-Janao (SRNMBJ), a farm cooperative in San Juan, has been taking tolls on its unpaved highways. But after four years, the Department of Agriculture showed a ray of light that led them to succeed.
In December 2019, everything changed for the Janao-Janao farmers when DA made its way and granted them with a much-needed development through its farm-to-market road (FMR) project.
This P4.8-million FMR project from DA will provide farmers with access to and from food production areas and allow farm cooperative members to carry their produce to the market as they make full profit from their produce. After its completion on February 1, 2020, this half kilometer of concrete roadway continues to serve its purpose. San Juan Public Market is the closest market to this FMR, but farmers can also easily transfer their products such as rice, corn, fruits, and vegetables to nearby towns and even to nearby provinces like Quezon because of the advanced mobility it has provided.
San Juan Municipal Agriculture Officer (MAO) Mr. Felix E. Leopango expressed his sincere gratitude to the Department for always putting San Juan and Brgy. Janao-Janao on their list of farmer-beneficiaries. He said consumers were very satisfied with the quality and consistent delivery of agricultural products by farmers who now have access to this FMR. Aside from farmers, Mr. Leopango also enumerated other beneficiaries of this intervention.
“I would like to thank DA on behalf of Mayor Ildebrando D. Salud for their continued support for our farmers in San Juan. With this FMR, buyers and dealers can no longer struggle with muddy terrain and late delivery of produce…This new road offers the advantage of providing quicker travel time and safer roadway not only to farmers but also to people who go to school or work,” MAO Leopango said.
In their barangay, Janao-Janao captain and SRNMBJ president Ms. Editha O. Sagaral shared her utmost appreciation for the FMR project. She said that this project not only helped many farmers in Janao-Janao, but also from nearby barangays.
“In a faster and a more convenient way, this FMR from DA helped us transport our produce. This makes us save more money because we no longer have to hire vehicles or carabaos to transport our products. We would also like to acknowledge the road’s quick but sturdy construction,” Ms. Sagaral said.
Mr. Rodrigo Lanuzo, vice president of farm cooperative, said that the transformation of the area from being a rough road to a cemented one really gives them with lot of benefits. One of which is to move goods more efficiently and safely.
“Some buyers, dealers, and agents have a difficult time reaching our farms before this FMR, which is why we always resort to paying extra for leased transport of our products just to have subpar quality of goods due to stress and delay caused by the uneven road. Now that we have this DA intervention, consumers can easily make their way to our farms directly and we can also transport our products to the market,” Mr. Lanuzo said.
The road was rough, but the path was clear and the Department literally and figuratively paved the way for Janao-Janao farmers to realize their dreams of getting a robust course to success. Indeed, the path not taken is now taken with pride and joy by San Juan farmers as they now tract the patch to higher food production and higher income. The previously less traveled road is now a landscape of bountiful farm produce. (MAP, DA-RAFIS)