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From Hopelessness to a Life Full of Hope

In the past years, it seemed as if there was no hope for Ma. Cristina Plata and her family to live a fruitful life, until Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program intervened in May 2018. Ma. Cristina, or “Tinay” to family and friends, is one of the beneficiaries of the FY 2018 Swine Production Project of Department of Agriculture (DA) SAAD-Region 8 worth Php 2,175,400.

Tinay is a 45-year-old housewife living in Brgy. Bayobay, Borongan City, Eastern Samar. She is married to Mr. Domingo Plata; the couple was blessed with 8 children.

She worked as a gardener (casual employee) at the Office of the Provincial Agricultural Services (OPAS) in Borongan City and as an on-call domestic helper, while her spouse is a farmer and an occasional construction worker. Together, the couple earns an average monthly income of Php 5,000.

Tinay’s family lived a simple life. They were able to provide for their family’s basic needs while they reside in a house made of light materials. Three (3) of their children are still in school, however, the other five had stopped schooling due to the family’s financial difficulty.

In July 2018, Tinay was granted a gilt and 8 bags of feeds amounting to Php 30,190. She also attended the swine production and management training which was held for three days in Borongan City.

In November 2018 (1st cycle), the gilt gave birth to 12 live piglets out of 16 deliveries. She sold them at Php 3,000 each with a total sales of Php 36,000. The income was used to help her children’s school expenses and family’s daily needs.

And on May 2019 (2nd cycle), 13 piglets were raised out of 16 births, and were sold at Php 3,000 each, or a total of Php 39,000. This was spent to build their residence’s comfort room.

Then, on the 3rd cycle in November 2019, her sow produced 14 piglets with no mortality. Nine (9) piglets were sold at Php 3,000 each for a total of Php 27,000. The income was utilized for the construction of their kitchen, while some were used for rice production.

As of March 2020, Tinay has two gilts to sustain the production of piglets and five piglets for fattening. According to Mr. Gary Gallenero, SAAD Eastern Samar Area Coordinator, Tinay is doing well and the swine project is thriving. For this reason, she was chosen as the SAAD’s Model Farmer in the province for the month of February 2020.

Tinay is grateful for the skills and knowledge she gained through the training activities and assistance from the SAAD Provincial and Area Coordinators. Although Tinay was not the original recipient of the project, she was deeply appreciative to her fellow farmer (Mr. Julio Gerna) who relinquished his involvement due to financial issues and some family problems.

She and her husband are very happy and thankful for the unexpected blessings. The couple is hopeful to multiply their swine in the future and to start a sari-sari store soon.

The story of what they are experiencing now is far different from the life they lived prior to SAAD Program – from hopelessness to a life full of hope. ###

Writer: Michelle N. Abucay, SAAD PPMSO 8

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