PALUAN, OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, April 22, 2021 – The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) through the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program converged to shape Paluan beneficiaries to become successful agripreneurs.
DA supported the farmers through chicken egg production while BFAR provided a vermicomposting project to provide livelihood during off-season.
As a continuation of the field monitoring, the SAAD National Program Director Dr. Myer G. Mula and Regional Technical Director Engr. Elmer Ferry with the SAAD National and Provincial staff visited the Paluenos Chicken Laying Farmers Association and Paluan-Harrison Fisherfolks Association, both located in Brgy. Harrison, Paluan.
Record-keeping, a fundamental in sustainability
Proactive beneficiaries of the Ready-to-Lay Chicken (Egg Production) Project skillfully demonstrated how members take turns in monitoring said project through effective record-keeping.
The Paluenos Chicken Laying Farmers Association with 29 members keeps a record board in their animal housing to ensure that members are informed and engaged in monitoring – a method to sustain the project.
Monitoring and record-keeping are important to keep track of indicators of project progress. Additionally, these data are useful to the coordinating agricultural units in identifying patterns of sickness and maintaining the quality and health of the animals.
The record board displayed just at the entrance of the chicken housing contains records of the ages of stock, the total number of eggs produced, and total gross and net income of the association per month. The system establishes transparency and invites trust among the members of the organization.
As SAAD encourages participation by setting an output commitment among the beneficiaries, the construction and maintenance of the housing is a counterpart project of the association.
The project costs around Php 457,000 consisting of 288 Lohmann chickens, 6 cages, 150 bags of feeds, and 39 liters vitamins – all of which are funded under 2020.
Since its inception, the organization has already earned an estimated Php 29,286 and supplied fresh eggs in the market of Paluan.
The organization plans to expand its operations by adding more chickens and hopes to double the egg quantity that they are currently producing to cater to a larger market.
Also, Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) James Patrick T. Pedraza wants to conduct a workshop on breeding chickens for the members.
Breeding is seen to sustain the project as it addresses chicken mortality and decrease in egg production. If successfully done, the association can start supplying chickens to other groups.
The Paluan-Harrison Fisherfolks Association was harvesting their vermicast under the organic farming provision of Vermicomposting Production in time for the SAAD chief’s project visit.
The 50 members of the group are fishers that depend on capture fishing as well as farming, as they cultivate vegetables on their land when they are off the sea.
The purpose of the project is to sustain fishers’ livelihood during off-season or circumstances such as weather disturbances.
Vermicast is a sustainable organic fertilizer made out of organic materials, containing higher nutrient content, and easier to be absorbed by the crops than other organic fertilizers. It is high in nitrogen content and is cultivated through the process of decomposition on designated beds.
In the group’s case, a built shed with four beds dedicated for vermicomposting was established by SAAD.
Due to limited production, the vermicast harvests are bought by the members for their vegetable cultivation use.
So far, the organization earned an estimated Php 4,500 for the 2nd cycle since the start of the project in 2019. Vermicast harvest is sold at roughly around Php 350/40 kilogram (kg) bag.
Association chairperson Reynaldo Rivera looks forward to receiving a supplementary shredder machine.
According to Peter Gallenera, Regional Alternate Focal Person of Organic Agriculture Program, the shredder is a useful tool that evenly shreds organic materials leading to faster decomposition resulting in quicker production of vermicast than the manual process.
SAAD Director Myer Mula expressed his confidence in the organizations’ capacity to sustain and even expand their vermicast production, and venture into enterprise development activities.
MAO Pedraza shares that he wants to encourage the Paluan-Harrison Fisherfolks Association to produce vermi-tea, a liquid fertilizer made from soaking worm castings that helps boost plant growth and to produce African nightcrawlers which sell at a higher price from Php 500-700/kg. This addition will help the beneficiaries earn more and expand their enterprise.
With the program chief’s visit and close discussions, Paluan project implementers and farmers are left with more zest in improving and engaging in measures to sustain their livelihood program. ###
Jessamae Gabon, SAAD NPMO Information Officer
Dianne Francis Sy, SAAD RPMSO 4B Information Officer
Source: Jhonzell Panganiban, SAAD-Paluan Area Coordinator