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A look into SAAD Eastern Samar’s rice and goat production projects

QUINAPONDAN, EASTERN SAMAR – Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program and Special Projects Coordination and Management Assistance Division (SPCMAD) of the Department of Agriculture looked into the status of SAAD’s implementation in the province of Eastern Samar on March 22, 2018.

Staff from the national, regional, and provincial levels visited Barangays Sta. Margarita and Bagte in the municipality of Quinapondan to check the enhanced rice and sustainable production projects of the province’s SAAD farmer-beneficiaries.

In Barangay Sta. Margarita, SAAD and SPCMAD staff met 47 year-old Rufino Habagat, Jr., president of Sta. Margarita Farmers’ Association, busy harvesting his crops planted in a one-hectare tenancy land. An estimate of 50 cavans, each weighing 50kg, has been harvested on that day, however, he will be sharing more than half of those to two landlords. In his previous harvest last season, he only harvested 45 sacks. He plans to sell 10 cavans of rice to the market.

Habagat, Jr. shared how difficult his family’s life. Some of his five children stopped attending school due to financial problems. Aside from farming, he is also a fisherman and he usually goes to the sea three times a week. He earns Php 200 per 2kg of fish.

Aside from Habagat, Jr., seven other members of the association – Miguel Lumagbas, Tomas Somono, Roberto Habagat, Ernesto Cabarillo, Hernando Pillero Saturnino Macawili, and Jose Parizal – were also present that day. All have received one sack of certified rice seeds, six sacks of organic fertilizers, three sacks of complete fertilizers, muriate of potash, and urea. Majority of them don’t own their half-hectare farmlands. They also expect that their yield will increase, just like Somono, who anticipates a harvest of 20 cavans compared to the usual 12 cavans.

Some members also attended a training conducted by the local farmer technician on December 22, 2017, wherein they learned about the application of fertilizers, land preparation, and the use of 20 x 20 marker when planting. On April 6, they are about to attend a training that SAAD will conduct. As president of the association, Habagat, Jr. encouraged other members to participate, saying: “Sa kapwa ko magsasaka ngayon darating ng seminar ng SAAD umattend tayo para din sa dadag kaalaman para sa pagtatanim ng palay at para na din sa ating karagdagang kita.”

They are all expecting to harvest this April 2018. Most of them use their produce for their family’s food consumption. They sometimes sell two sacks of rice for their other needs. Ea