AGUSAN DEL SUR, August 27, 2021— Two farmers and fisherfolk’s associations in Agusan del Sur showcased their abaca and tilapia production to Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program Director Myer Mula with implementers from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Caraga Region.
DA Regional Executive Director (RED) Abel James Monteagudo, BFAR Regional Director Usop Pendaliday Jr., and ARD Edgardo Balambao, led the visit on August 25 in coordination with Talacogon Mayor Pauline Marie Masendo and San Luis Mayor Phoebe Corvera.
Director Mula met Culiram SAAD Abaca Farmers’ Association (CuSAFA) in Talacogon and Doña Flavia Farmers and Fisherfolk’ Association (DOFFAS) in San Luis.
Barangay Culiram, Talacogon
The site of the Abaca project is a 30 minutes away from the center of the Barangay, considered as an ELCAC area, where the means of transportation is through an improvised motor bike with wings (locally known as Skylab or habal-habal).
The CuSAFA engages in the SAAD-funded abaca production with startup inputs provided since 2019. The 66-member association is a mix of experienced and new abaca farmers. Since they vary in planting time, some expect their first harvest this year, while the rest will harvest by 2022. The association utilizes more or less 53 hectares (ha) of land for the abaca.
In the meantime, CuSAFA members use the four stripping machines (two portable and two mobile) funded under FY 2019-2020 to strip abaca trunks from their existing plantation.
From January 2020 to August 2021, the association reported 13,017 kilograms (kg) of abaca fibers stripped amounting to Php 991,885 combined sales.
The abaca fibers were sold for Php 90/kg, which is twice the regular price of manually stripped fibers (Binaba). Since they transitioned from manual to mechanized stripping, CuSAFA’s existing abaca planters boosted a 55% sales increase.
Barangay Doña Flavia, San Luis
Meanwhile, the 84-member DOFFAS engages in Tilapia Culture in Pond project funded through the BFAR-SAAD in 2019 in only just 200sqm. To date, they have increase their operation into a 1.2ha production area for grow out and hatchery.
DOFFAS president Annaliza Cabantog reported an estimate of Php 237,782 sales from four cropping seasons. It is now a major supplier of tilapia fingerlings in San Luis with regular buyers across the region.
In addition to the fishery project, DOFFAS purchased vegetables seeds such as bell pepper, eggplant, cucumber, red chili, tomatoes, and string beans using the income they received from the project in February 2020. They recorded Php 65,859 net income from the vegetable production from their 0.75ha land.
“A program will be successful in partnership and transparency,” emphasized Director Mula during his dialogue with the directors and mayors. “Critical na component ng programa ang support ng local government units and relevant stakeholders,” he added. (The support of the local government units and other stakeholders is critical in the implementation of the program.)
Present during the visits are DA-SAAD Deputy Focal Person Jekem D. Sanchez together with Provincial Agriculturist Armando G. Valiente and Municipal Agriculturists Reuel A. Barraca (Talacogon) and Ceasar G. Burdeos (San Luis). ###
Writer: Mark Angelo Pineda, Information Officer- DA-SAAD Caraga
Sources: Star Lou Tandungon, Technical Staff- BFAR-Caraga