“We’re so happy and blessed because of SAAD’s support in our community”, Josefa “Ippang” Arman Sali said as she proudly showed her new goat which she bought through her earnings from the 2019 Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program’s Banana Demo Farming project.
“I named this doe Lakatan as a remembrance of our first harvest this year. Whenever I look at Lakatan, I remember how SAAD helped us,” she added.
Ippang and 6 other members of Lupah Abu Farmers’ Association (FA) from the municipality of Parang, Sulu received the project worth Php 173,458 in September 2019.
The SAAD team delivered 2,000 banana suckers, good for 1 hectare (ha). Also provided were fertilizers, a grass cutter, a power sprayer, and perforated bags.
Table 1. Inputs received by the Lupah Abu Farmers’ Association from SAAD
Each beneficiary is in charge of caring for 50 banana trees planted in 1ha area owned by one of the group members.
“Sometimes we find it fun managing our trees, it seems like we’re having friendly competition in cleaning our banana plantation” said Ippang.
The association started harvesting on February 16 and sold 10 bunches worth Php 3,000 (Php 300 per bunch).
For her second harvest, Ippang sold 12 bunches of bananas priced at Php 450 per bunch.
The farmers made an agreement with the middleman who bought their previous harvest to be regular suppliers of bananas.
SAAD Area Coordinator Alkhatemar “Al” Sangkula also introduced the other SAAD groups with Banana Demo Farming to the middleman as possible additional suppliers of the fruit.
The Lupah Abu FA has a clear arrangement that they will equally divide their income from the banana.
The association plans to expand their banana plantation by planting more banana suckers. They will also buy cattle to help them in plowing, and goats for breeding and additional income.
“On behalf of my co-farmers we would like to extend our gratitude to Sir Al for guiding us continuously since day one,” said Ippang.
Aside from Parang, the DA-SAAD program in Sulu is currently implementing Php 1,734,580 worth of Banana Demo Farm projects in the municipalities of Talipao, Maimbung, Panamao, and Indanan, benefiting 7 groups with more or less 100 members per FA. ###
Writer: Shara Malaica Ussam, Information Officer- DA-SAAD Sulu
Copy Editor: Natalianne Marie Delos Reyes, PR and Comms Officer- SAAD NPMO