SORSOGON, October 28, 2020 – The Department of Agriculture (DA) ensures that the marginalized farming communities are counted in its intensive farm mechanization campaign, prioritizing the increase of agricultural production.
In this light, a total of Php 2,741,500.00 was allocated for two farmer-associations (FAs) in the remote areas of Pilar, Sorsogon for agricultural mechanization grant from the DA – Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program in the last quarter of the current year.
Enkindling corn production for farmers of Brgy. Naspi, Pilar
Brgy. Naspi is known to be a corn area in Pilar, Sorsogon. However, land cultivation maintenance has been a challenge for the community due to financial incapacity.
The Naspi Agricultural Workers Association (NAWA) FA with 35 members has been tilling an estimated 20 hectare-land for corn, cassava and other minor crops. The local farmers have a fertile land perfect for agricultural use but do not have enough resources to maximize the area. Fortunately in 2019, during the monitoring activity and assessment of the DA-SAAD staff, together with the Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU) of Sorsogon, the community has been recognized to have a strong potential to thrive if they continue in corn production activity.
On 14 October, NAWA FA was granted farm machinery and equipment under SAAD’s FY 2020 Corn Package and Cacao Planting Materials Project, consisting of corn sheller, corn miller, cassava chipper, corn seeds, complete fertilizer, cassava seed pieces, and draft animals with a total amount of Php 1,064,500.00. Aside from this package, and given the large available land in the area, an additional 500 grafted cacao seedlings were also given to the FA for intercropping under the coconut trees.
Community organizing entails establishing a strong social network for effective implementation. According to the community members, the group was motivated to join the SAAD Program because of its vision and due to the persistence of their area coordinator – Mr. Jhonel Albao. The members have a strong connection to the provincial project implementers and said that they were inspired by the AC’s motivation through consistent visits and query accommodation.
The NAWA FA members expressed their gratitude for the machine and equipment grant. In a collective statement, the association shared, “Maraming salamat po sa mga taga DA-SAAD at nakatanggap po kami ng mga ganitong makinarya na magbibigay sa amin ng dagdag na tulong sa pagbebenta ng aming mga produkto. Mas lalo po kaming gaganahan sa pag –aasikaso sa aming mga taniman at lupain dahil alam namin na magkakaroon ng dagdag na halaga ang aming mga produkto. Nakakatuwang isipin na isa kami sa mga maswerteng grupo na nabuo ng SAAD, dahil sa napaka-ikling panahon mula ng kami ay nabuo ay nagkaroon agad kami ng ganitong mga mejuras o biyaya mula sa departamento ng agrikultura. Sisikapin po namin na ang mga ganitong pagkakataon at mejuras ay hindi masasayang.”
The turn-over ceremony has been graced by Naspi Agricultural Workers Association (NAWA) members, Brgy. Council Officials led by Brgy. Chairperson Ms. Elizabeth Manriza, and staff from SAAD Sorsogon.
Advancing production for the rice-farmers of Brgy. Cagdongon, Pilar
On 15 October, the Cagdongon Farmer Association’s beneficiaries were granted more than Php 1.6 million worth of farm machinery and equipment under the FY 2020 Rice Package Project.
The said association, which has 60 members, is currently cultivating an estimated 20 hectare-land for rice production in Brgy. Cagdongon, whose primary crops are rice and coconut. The Cagdongon Farmer Association’s intervention package was partially delivered consisting of four (4) units of mechanical rice reaper, a unit of mobile rice mill, a brush cutter, a moisture meter, 50 bags of palay seed, 50 bags of complete fertilizer, four (4) heads of draft animals, 100 pieces (pcs) empty sacks, and 2,000 pcs laminated sacks. Meanwhile, the hand tractor with trailer unit and palay thresher unit are yet to be delivered in the following months, completing the whole package grant.
Pilar LGU Rice Coordinator, Ms. Elsa Blanquisco, shared that in the previous years, grants on machinery and equipment for the farmers of Brgy. Cagdongon has been elusive, until after the DA-SAAD Program arrived in the community. Ms. Blanquisco, SAAD Sorsogon staff and Barangay LGU staff or Cagdongon got together to witness and facilitate the distribution ceremony.
Cagdongon FA Chairperson Mr. Ely Loseriaga felt thankful and expressed his gratitude to the DA and SAAD Program and likewise wishes that more marginalized farmers alike will benefit from SAAD. They also pledge that the farm equipment will be properly utilized and shared equally among members and other neighboring communities.
The intensified agricultural mechanization campaign of the DA under Sec. William Dar aims to modernize agricultural operations, towards increasing efficiency of farm production in terms of time, cost, and effort. This then could impact accessibility and affordability of food, not just in specific communities but for national food security as well. ###
Jessamae Gabon, DA SAAD NPMO, Public Relations, and Communications Officer
Maribeth A. Mangalino, DA SAAD Region 5 Planning Officer
Mary Rose Detera, SAAD-Sorsogon Provincial Coordinator
Naspi Agricultural Workers Association (NAWA)
Photos courtesy of DA-SAAD Sorsogon