APAYAO, March 29, 2021 – In celebration of Women’s Month, 56 rural farmers from Poblacion, Imelda, Alem, San Luis (PIAS) Farmer Association (FA) of the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program conducted communal gardening in barangays Imelda and Alem, Pudtol – a significant pay-off to improve labor productivity and to help children experiencing malnutrition.
The PIAS Farmers Association was registered at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on July 17, 2017, as a cooperative for rural workers, specifically for the underemployed and home-based workers in the community who engage in entrepreneurial activities.
As of March, there are 198 beneficiaries under the association, composed of 121 women and 77 men.
During the SAAD program’s official visit to the project sites, the members were seen tending their edible communal gardens of about a hundred square meters per barangay, or about 400 sqm combined total land area.
In an interview with group member Leonora Lucero, she stated that the program was a mentoring ground for women who want to take lead in shaping the future of agriculture.
Through the program, they developed their community participation, which positively affected their lives.
“Idi naikkak kami di opurtunidad bilang maysa nga beneficiaries iti SAAD program, narikna mi nga iti tulong ket maited kadagiti tao nga kayat na metlang nga tulungan iti bagi na,” said Leonora. [When we were given the opportunity as a group under the SAAD program, we realized that blessing can only be given to those who also make every effort for themselves.]
SAAD’s Vegetable Production Project
Through the SAAD Program, the association received four shared units of rain shelter in June 2019 in support of their Vegetable Production Project, which cost Php 636,600.00.
There were 5 units of rain shelter given to Brgy. Imelda and Brgy. Alem.
In Brgy. Imelda, they received 3 shared units of rain shelter, with a package of 5 units of knapsack sprayer, 8 pieces of shovel, and 18 pieces of seedling tray.
While in Brgy. Alem, they received 2 shared units of rain shelter, with a package of 4 units of knapsack sprayer, 5 pieces of shovel, and 13 pieces of seedling tray .
Leonora attested that using rain shelters makes vegetable farming faster and easier by providing the seedlings a convenient and healthier environment during the growing stage.
“Idi awan pay tuy rain shelter, sakam lang makamula nu tay dry season ta nu pinatagtutudu meten ket agnanayun nga maperdi tuy mula mi ta malungsot da gapo iti tudu,” shared Leonora. [Before we receive the project, we can only propagate our vegetable seedlings during the dry season because, during the off-season, too much rain can damage the crops due to unexpected decay.]
Accordingly, they grew food to provide an accessible and nutritious food supply for their families and community.
“Idi ada tuy project’n, han min masapul nga gumatang iti nateng nga agserbi pamilya mi ta da meten idi continues nga pagmulaan mi kin pag harvest’an mi,” said Ms. Lucero. [When we received the project, we are no longer purchasing vegetables in the market just to sustain our families’ consumption. But rather, we can now provide our own food.]
Communal Vegetable Gardening during Women’s Month
The group’s communal vegetable gardening was conducted to expand their backyard farm area, said PIAS FA president Mercedes Pechon.
“Etuy nga initiative ket nabuo tapnon mangrugi kami nga ag expand iti production area tapnon nu kasta ket mangrugi kamin nga ag market supply kin tapnon matulungan mi agituy duwa a case iti malnutrition dituy community mi. Kayat mi nga matulungan etuy a pamilya isun ton makapaadu kami plano mi nga supplyan isuda iti vegetable nga libre,” said Ms. Pechon. [This initiative was organized to further prepare our association in the market. We aim to earn as a group and to further help the 2 cases of malnutrition in our community through providing them with free vegetable supply.]
To expand their farm area, Ms. Lucero initiated to offer her backyard lot measuring 200 sqm in Brgy. Imelda.
The group is expecting to harvest vegetable varieties such as eggplant, okra, chili, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, sponge gourd, tohya beans, dasheen, pechay, and tomato with a minimum of 10 kilograms (kg) of each variety per week over the period of May to June.
Malnutrition Case in Brgy. Alem and Brgy. Imelda
During an interview with Barangay Alem Nutrition Scholar Mary Jane Vicitacion and Barangay Imelda Nutrition Scholar Angelita Failoga, there are 7 malnutrition cases in both barangays, with two in Barangay Alem and five in Barangay Imelda.
Through the SAAD beneficiaries’ initiative, the malnourished children were given easier access to nutritious vegetables for consumption.
According to Ms. Pechon, they are hoping for an ample vegetable harvest to earn additional income as a group and to further play a significant role in helping the children who are mainly affected by malnutrition. ###
Writer: Kathleen Faye B. Agonoy, SAAD Apayao Information Officer I
Malnutrition Case in Brgy. Alem, Ms. Mary Jane Vicitacion, Barangay Nutrition Scholar
Malnutrition Case in Brgy. Imelda, Ms. Angelita Failoga, Barangay Nutrition Scholar