Jessie Doromal, 54, has been a farmer since childhood in Kalawit, Zamboanga del Norte.
“I am originally from Dapitan City, but when I married my wife, we decided to move here in barangay Concepcion, municipality of Kalawit since my wife’s family owns a small area of land here. My wife and I started living a new life,” he recounted in the local dialect.
Jessie strived hard in life and eventually, they began to tend the family farm by planting various commodities such as white corn and cassava. Soon enough, he also planted rubber and coconut.
“We really started with nothing but when I became a father of six children, it put a big responsibility over my shoulders and I have to work harder to provide for my family’s needs,” Jessie shared.
Up to now, even when his four sons became independent and started their own families, Jessie continues to care for his farm to support his two daughters who are still in college.
Jessie is a member of the Concepcion Pangkabuhayan Association, a group supported by the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program in Region 9.
The association received the Layer Chicken Egg Production Project and Corn (Sweet and Glutinous) Production Project in 2021.
“Our association was inactive before SAAD came. We are very grateful that our idle group is now teeming with new livelihood opportunities,” he said.
In March, he received Php 18,300 worth of corn-related agricultural inputs which includes 2 kilograms (kg) sweet corn seeds, 3kg glutinous corn seeds, 5 bags of fertilizers (complete, urea, muriate of potash and ammo phosphate), and a water drum.
Jessie planted the sweet corn in his 1.2-hectare (ha) land in the first week of April.
“Since it was my first time planting sweet corn all throughout my journey as a farmer, I only planted 1kg to see the results of this new commodity, if I will earn from this or not,” he explained.
In June, exactly 75 days after Jessie planted the sweet corn, he harvested 800kg of produce. After five days, Jessie earned Php 18,000. “Being happy is an understatement when I harvested them because a piece of the fresh corn weighs more than half kilogram which I sold at Php 30/kg,” he said.
“My friends helped me in selling my harvest by posting it on Facebook. I did not have a hard time finding customers because they bought directly from me,” he added.
“I never thought that I would earn this much from this commodity. I am beyond grateful to SAAD for letting me experience this opportunity. Because of this project, my wife and I were able to go to the neighboring municipalities to sell our produce and also it was like our bonding as a couple. For the first time in a while, we were able to eat outside our home,” he said.
As the school year is fast approaching, Jessie saved his income for the enrollment of his daughters – one who is taking up a course in nursing and another in medical technology.
“Looking back to where I was before, I feel that all my hard work is paying off and all my sacrifices are worth it. Seeing my children living in a more comfortable life, I learned that through farming, with perseverance and determination, you will succeed in life,” Jessie claimed.
Jessie is starting his land preparation to plant the remaining sweet corn seeds.
“I will continue growing sweet corn because I have seen the potential income I will get if I expand my farm for this commodity,” he firmly said.
The journey of Jessie Doromal proves how the SAAD, among other projects and programs initiated by the Philippine government, facilitates development to the farmers by providing them their most needed assistance. ###
Writer: Aimee Lou D. Madjus, Information Officer- DA SAAD Region 9