The municipality of Siayan in Zamboanga del Norte was chosen as one of the targeted municipalities in 2017 for the implementation of the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program because of its staggering poverty rate of 70.5% based from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in 2012. Three (3) barangays – Litoley, Macasing, and Seriac – were chosen to be the farmer-partners of the program.
One of the farmer-partners in Siayan is Eden P. Mandate or “Manang Eden”, a 55-year-old housewife, a dedicated farmer, and a member of the Macasing Consumers Cooperative (MACONCO).
Manang Eden, a farmer for 37 years, lives at Barangay Macasing, Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte. She earns roughly Php 4,500.00 a month from her humble profession. (See Manang Eden’s interview video at the right section)
Together with her husband, they work hand in hand in their one and a half-hectare agricultural land mostly concentrated in open pollinated variety (OPV) corn production, dependent on the subsidy being given by the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) of Siayan.
Manang Eden is one of the farmer-partners selected to avail of the project entitled Upland Production and Harnessing Enterprise Development (UP-AHED) from the DA-SAAD in 2017, the pilot year implementation of the program. She received 500 plantlets of banana (lakatan variety), fertilizers such as complete, urea, ammonium sulfate, muriate of potash, and lime.
From these inputs, she started planting in February 2018. Despite knowing that there would be a little chance of survival for the plantlets to flourish given the fast approaching dry season, she took the courage to gamble.
On her first harvest on February 12, 2019, she was able to sell 25 kilograms of banana in a nearby municipality for Php 400.00.
Next month’s harvest (March 8, 2019) produced her 9 bunches of appetizing bananas with a total of 117 kilos sold at Php 21.00 per kilo in Sindangan. She earned a total of Php 2,457.00.
Manang Eden is still expecting to harvest an estimate of 82 bunches of bananas this April to June 2019.
As a member of their cooperative, she is obligated to give back three plantlets per banana tree so that other members of the group can also plant as well as ensure the expansion and sustainability of the project.
She expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the DA-SAAD program for choosing her as one of the farmer-partners in their locality as this project contributed an increase in her income as well as in her technical know-how.
She was equipped with the new technologies and best practices in fertilizer application. Her entrepreneurial skills were shaped through SAAD’s organizational development, policy formulation, financial management, and project management training activities.
Indeed, the seeds you plant today determine the harvest you reap tomorrow.
Writer: Roger Dave F. Gramatica, SAAD Area Coordinator in Zamboanga del Norte
Editor: Jhomai Canlas, SAAD PR & Communications Officer