SORSOGON, September 30, 2021 – Corn farmer Josefina Milarpes, 50, earned Php 43,125 after harvesting at least 2,875 kilograms (kg) of yellow corn in August 2021, from a project granted by the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program.
Josefina is one of the 26 members of the Buraburan, Bacolod, Binanuahan, Aroroy (BUBAY) Corn Farmers’ Association (FA) from Barangay Binanuahan, Juban, Sorsogon. She owns a 2-hectare (ha) area which she uses for corn production.
Her family gets their income from cultivating vegetables, rice, and corn. However, Josefina’s husband, Ronilo, occasionally renders labor for construction work or drives a tricycle for extra income just enough for a day’s food expenses. From these services, they both earn around Php 2,000 – 3,000 income per month.
The BUBAY FA
The association was organized and registered under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in October 2019 after receiving inputs from the DA-SAAD’s Corn Production Project.
The project consists of white corn seeds (26 bags), complete fertilizer (26 bags), cassava seeds (2,166 pieces), corn grits mill, mechanical corn sheller, cassava chipper, and five draft animals worth Php 627,864.50.
In 2020, Brgy. Binanuahan, home of 15 BUBAY FA members, received 10 bags of yellow corn and 10 bags of complete fertilizer worth Php 50,160 since they are willing to try to produce yellow corn in their area.
Yellow corn cultivation
In July 2021, Josefina and her husband harvested 2,875kg of yellow corn which was then supplied to Jeorge Dioneda of Kasanggayahan Trading, one of the local suppliers of chicken feed in the province. Sold at Php 15/kg, the Milarpes family listed a total earning of Php 43,125.
A portion of the earnings was used to purchase sweet purple corn and white corn for the next season’s harvest in October to sustain income generation and production.
In addition, Josefina shared how the income paid for their household bills and tuition fee of their children. She said, “…dahil sa SAAD, nagkaroon ako ng malaking income. Nakabayad ako ng tuition fee para sa aking anak na 1st year college ngayong taon, nakapag-bayad ako ng kuryente at nakatulong ito sa pang araw-araw naming gastos sa pamilya.”
[Through the SAAD Program, I earned a bigger income. I managed to pay the tuition fee of my child who is now in 1st-year college. I was also able to pay our electricity bill and it helps us sustain the family’s daily needs.]
Situated in flood-prone areas in the barangay, farmers are hesitant in cultivating corn. However, through SAAD’s inputs, corn production is made more inviting since farmers don’t need to draw capital. According to BUBAY FA president Diogenes Escalo, the farmers also cultivate vegetables aside from corn if permitted by the weather.
The group also received Corn Production and Enterprise Development Training in 2019 to provide the SAAD beneficiaries understanding of food processing and awareness of proper food handling practices which they may apply for value-adding ventures.
SAAD farmers supplying agricultural products to local business
The marketing of corn products was also a major challenge for the association. To ensure buyers for their corn produce, the local agricultural office coordinated with other local agencies, markets, and suppliers.
It is one of SAAD’s goals to link the farmers to local enterprises for their agricultural products. To do this, the program assisted the farmers organize into an association to access other programs provided by different agencies such as that of DOLE. Likewise, it protects the labor, trade welfare, and rights of the beneficiaries.
“Maraming salamat sa SAAD dahil dito kami nakaraos lalo na ngayong pandemya. Ang SAAD ang sagot sa aming pangangailangan,” shared Josefina.
[Thank you so much to the SAAD Program because we survived, especially in this time of the pandemic. They are the answer to our needs.]
At present, Josefina already planted sweet purple and white corn which are expected to mature in October 2021. She also intends to cultivate yellow corn once the weather is favorable.
White corn is used as an alternative to rice, while yellow corn’s primary purpose, which Josefina cultivates, is used as feed for poultry animals and as an ingredient to other corn by-products. Sweet purple corn is a sticky variety that is used for human consumption. ###
Writer: Pauline Trixia Borja – SAAD Sorsogon Information Officer
Sources: Ma. Ligaya Renegado, Juban Area Coordinator
Photos: SAAD Program Sorsogon