Just like any typical day, Pangian Farmers’ Association President Clarito Ramboa takes an early call, along with two members of his association, to be on their way to the poultry farm to check and care for the chickens. Despite having the two caretakers of the chicken coop, Clarito still considers his constant visits as a vital task to not miss anything important in the daily farm operations.
The Pangian FA, consisting of 25 active members, is situated in Barangay Pangian, Siocon, Zamboanga Del Norte. Pangian FA is one of the many farmer-partners of the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program under the Broiler Chicken Raising Project from 2017 to present.
“We were not actually the first recipients of the project, but it was heaven-sent that the Municipal Agriculture Officer called and offered it to us since the supposed beneficiary was not interested in it. We grabbed this opportunity and I personally made sure the residents of Pangian who are members of the association understood all the information about the project we will get ourselves into,” Clarito explained.
He said that due to financial constraints, in the beginning, they had to loan some money to use in the establishment of the housing facility.
“After we found a suitable area for the project, the DA-SAAD provided us the coop or the housing facility for the 2017 intervention. We took care of installing electricity and access to other needed logistics. For the 2018 intervention, the fund was downloaded to the local government unit (LGU) in September 2019. In November 2019, we received 4,000 chicks together with 100 bags of feed supplements,” said Clarito. Another set of interventions from the 2019 budget was delivered in December which includes 4,000 chicks, feeds and supplements with chicken dresser and freezer (Table 1).
|Table 1-||Interventions received by the Pangian Farmers’ Association from the Special Area for Agricultural Development Program as of August 2020|
|Budget Year||Name of Project||Intervention||Total Amount
|FY 2017||Broiler Chicken Raising Production||Housing Facility||426,613.22|
|FY 2018||Broiler Chicken Raising Production||4,000 heads of chicks||376, 970.00|
|100 bags of feeds|
|20 vials of drugs and biologics|
|8 packs of drugs and biologics|
|FY 2019||Broiler Chicken Raising Production||4,000 chicks||519, 635.00|
|100 bags of feeds|
|8 packs of drugs and biologics|
|2 units of chicken dresser|
|1 unit of Freezer|
|TOTAL PROJECT COST||1,323,218.22|
Growing up as a leader with 18 years of service experience, Clarito who was a former barangay Kagawad, managed to unite his members and kept them involved in the project. He turned a shed beside his house into a special gathering area for the group and branded it the “Meeting Place.”
“We conduct monthly meetings and we particularly take pride in one of our policies of membership termination once a member fails to attend meetings and when one does not help in the farm operations without valid reasons. But thankfully, to this day, we have not removed any member. I think this kind of strategy works because all our members are accustomed to manual labor. They are more willing to help in decluttering the broilers manually, as well as feeding and caring for the broilers,” Clarito revealed.
Clarito shares some of the management practices in maintaining their poultry farm. “The poultry odor usually becomes one of the main concerns in poultry farms but with the use of carbonized rice hulls under the coop, this prevents the repugnant smell of poultry wastes,” he said.
Aside from establishing the farm management protocols in which the members adhere in their daily functions, the routine is the everyday monitoring of the supply for chicks. The president reveals that in the 28 days of raising the broiler, they start with the feed booster for the first eight days, followed by the starter feed for 10 days and ends with a finisher feed lasting 10 days.
“Before SAAD gave us this project, some of the members were unproductive, some were into betting and gaming, and burdened with loans. We are very thankful for this project; this opportunity is able to make us have a productive community. I am happy to see my neighbors improve their quality of life,” Clarito added.
A livelihood program for Pangian became imperative since the previous daily wage of the members was not enough to provide their family’s needs. “Most members could barely afford to send their children to school and buy the supplies they need. They are financially incapacitated. Some just earn enough to buy food for the day or two,” Clarito narrated.
Despite being a novice to poultry farming, the association earned a net income worth Php 73,358.65 during their first harvest of broilers in December 2019. The association was able to manage and gain good profit. Clarito said that the project is not just a livelihood, but also an opportunity to improve the relationship among others.
He proudly shared that from the income the association earned, successfully built were a storage room for their feeds, a water tank, a slaughter area, and a room for the caretakers on the farm.
This initiative of the DA-SAAD did not just succeed in attaining economic growth in the community, but also strengthened their social lives by engaging them in more productive activity.
However, as some say that life is not always rainbows and butterflies, the association faced the unexpected. On March 16, 2020, with the pronouncement of Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte of the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (CoViD-19) pandemic, the entire country was placed under community quarantine. This resulted in the temporary closure of non-essential businesses including restaurants, hotels, catering services, pension inns, among others.
The threat of no income was taking a toll. For a month or so, no one would buy broilers and broiler meat from them, and feeding the broilers had to be extended for a longer period. Nevertheless, the association decided to sell them at a lower price to do away with continuous feeding that resulted in high operating costs.
Fortunately, the LGU rescued their cause. “The municipal office helped us look for buyers. We were able to sell our broilers and most importantly, the members were able to receive their respective income shares,” Clarito explained gladly.
The association president believes that the project will remain sustainable despite any setbacks or challenges they are now facing and those that they may face in the future.
“I am hopeful that we will continuously progress. Our association still has plans to expand this farm and also put up a vegetable garden as another source of food and income for us,” he further said.
The SAAD program in Zamboanga Peninsula has provided meaningful agricultural livelihood opportunities in marginalized communities. It has truly brought economic impact and improvement in the quality of life of farmers and residents alike in barangay Pangian, Siocon. ###
Writer: Aimee Lou Madjus, Information Officer- SAAD Region 9