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Tigunhao’s all-women farmers group earns Php 24K from SAAD’s egg production project

BACKGROUND 

Laua-an is a 4th class municipality in Antique at about 55.10 kilometers away from the province’s main commercial center – San Jose. 

Farming is the major occupation in Laua-an and fishing is the secondary source of income. About 2,280.49 hectares are devoted to agricultural crop production (rice, corn, vegetable, fruit, and root crop), representing 12.20% of the total land area of the municipality.

Tigunhao is among the town’s inland villages nestled amid steeped terrains that are suitable for agriculture. To get there, one must ride a motorcycle for hire or habal-habal

In 2010, a group of Tigunhao’s female indigenous people (IP) called Iraynon Bukidnon organized themselves and named their organization as Ratanila Cluster Level Association (RCLA). 

According to the group’s president, 59-year-old Marsalina Labanon, the goal of RCLA is to establish an alliance of rural women, including the youth, that would secure a hunger-free community through sustainable agriculture.  

They were able to register their association at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in 2014.  

In 2019, RCLA with 77 members was selected as a beneficiary of the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program’s Chicken Layer Egg Production Project worth Php 371,629.30. 

The local government unit of Laua-an, through the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO), paved the way for the inclusion of RCLA’s low-income farmers to the SAAD livelihood projects. 

The all-women group envisioned this livelihood intervention as an alternative source of income for Tigunhao’s marginal farmers living in geographically disadvantaged areas and likewise a potential enterprise that could augment RCLA members who are heavily reliant on rice farming.  

IMPLEMENTATION

In December 2020, the SAAD Western Visayas team turned over 144 ready-to-lay pullets with one-month supply of feeds, biologics, a complete set of cages, feeders, and waterers to RCLA.

To further boost their production, the SAAD team dispersed two additional sets of layer chicken on February 3, 2021 which were funded through the program’s savings. 

Table 1. Breakdown of RCLA’s project packages

Date

Projects Quantity UOM Unit Cost
(Php)

Total Cost
(Php)

2020 Chicken Layer Egg Production 371,629.30
Chicken Layer

240 

heads

50,000

250,000

Drugs and Biologics

3

sets

5,000

15,000

Feeds

30

bags

1,884.31

56,529.3

Wheelbarrow

3

units

10,500

10,500

Egg weighing scale

3

units

15,000

15,000

Egg trays

240

pcs

12,000

12,000

Water drums

3

units

9,000

9,000

Water hose, roll

3

units

3,600

3,600

The MAO facilitated an orientation on layer chicken raising two weeks before the official distribution of ready-to-lay pullets to prepare the beneficiaries on proper handling. 

The office also stepped up its efforts since the SAAD team deemed it prudent to forgo technical training due to restrictions brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Through hard work and labor, the RCLA farmers built a housing facility to protect the laying hens from extreme weather conditions and natural predators such as snakes and wild cats. 

The group likewise agreed to put the animal housing in a lot owned by a member that is 150 feet from residences so it will not cause sanitation and environmental issues. It is their way of having an ownership to the project. 

Ms. Labanon as the FA president has been hands-on in the day-to-day operations of their poultry project. 

Although RCLA hired a poultry caretaker, she still strictly oversees the cleanliness of the housing and she makes sure that correct data is being logged in the daily production record. Paper audit is being conducted every week. 

Ms. Labanon also acknowledged that poultry lice and mite infestation as common challenges in raising ready-to-lay hens. As a risk mitigation measure, they bathe the chickens once a month and inspect them frequently to make sure they are healthy and clean. 

RESULTS

Over two months of caring and feeding for the three initial sets of ready-to-lay pullets, the RCLA’s egg production started to pick up.  

According to Ms. Labanon, the chickens started laying eggs in late February 2021 and their production went on full swing by mid-March. 

Meanwhile, the 98 additional chickens had a stable egg production in April. Ms. Lebanon said they could only collect a tray or two per day during the first month of harvesting. In mid-March, their harvest eventually grew to three to four trays per day. 

Five modules, which translates to 240 heads of layer chicken, have resulted in a gross income of Php 23,453 from February 19 to July 2021. 

The eggs were marketed locally at the group’s consolidating center or “bagsakan” in the barangay proper. 

Most of the locals in Tigunhao buy their eggs at the bagsakan due to the convenience of its location. Some even ordered several trays ahead of time. 

The consolidating center was established through the help of the DA Western Visayas’ Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service Division (AMAD). 

“This egg business helped our community get through the impact of the CoViD-19 pandemic. We did not only provide fresh and nutritious food on the table of our families but also ensured that no one would go hungry during the community quarantine in our area,” said Labanon.  

To make their egg business more efficient, the group members utilized the egg weighing scale given by SAAD. Each tray, the small eggs (50g) are sold at Php 65, medium eggs (55g) at Php 70, and large eggs (60g) at Php 80.

Table 2. RCLA’s Egg Harvest from February – July

Month

Total eggs gathered (pcs) Total Sales 
(a)
Total monthly expense  
(b)

Net Income
(a-b)

February 

97

576

576

March

1,335

7,992

788

7,204

April

1,559

9,288

3,152

6,136

May

1,656

9,936

3,331

6,605

June 

608

4,864

2,850

2,014

July 

438

3,504

2,010

1,494

Total

5,596

36,160

12,131

24,029

Challenges

Ms. Labanon shared their struggles along the way while implementing the poultry project. Their biggest challenges include the following:

1. Lack of cooperation of some members

The RCLA was able to iron this concern by encouraging everyone to regularly attend meetings and motivating each other to be accountable for their duties and responsibilities. The association’s secretary also imposed attendance checking and monitoring.

2. Low egg production 

Observing the day-to-day operation of the poultry project, Ms. Labanon noticed that chickens will not eat when the lighting in the poultry house gets dimmed which results in low egg production. To get continued and maximum egg production from their hens, the RCLA installed three 40-watt incandescent bulbs. The group also decided to switch to a new brand of layer feeds which is more expensive but contains more nutrients. 

Plans 

Ms. Labanon said they are upbeat of their group’s future undertakings, specifically in the management of the egg production project from SAAD. They are planning to sell their chicken dung as fertilizers to residents practicing backyard gardening with the price of Php 200/sack.

The association is likewise looking forward to sustaining their poultry project by procuring 100 more ready-to-lay pullets to replace the older hens. 

In hopes to establish links with institutional buyers, the group aims to create a social media page where they could trade their produce online through the help of agricultural technicians from the MAO. 

The RCLA members also hope to continue equipping themselves with knowledge, hands-on experience and additional technical know-how as they gear up towards bigger poultry farm engagement to become Laua-an’s egg basket. ###

 

Writer: Christ John Gamarcha, SAAD Region 6, Information Officer

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Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program Online ISSN: 2718-9791
Published by the SAAD National Program Management Office Editorial Board

Contact | Follow @da.saadprogram

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
Republic of the Philippines

William D. Dar, Ph. D.
Secretary, Department of Agriculture

Myer G. Mula, Ph. D.
Program Director

                  

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