CANTANDUANES AND MASBATE, June 1, 2020 – Despite the current pandemic and unrest brought by the COVID-19, the Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) of Region 5 continues to fulfill its promise of helping the farmers from the remote islands of Bicol region. A total of Php 2.46 million worth farm materials, tools, and chicken pullet were distributed to 585 farmers of Catanduanes (525 farmer-beneficiaries) and Masbate (60 farmer-beneficiaries).
These livelihood projects aim to provide SAAD farmer-beneficiaries from the remote areas of the provinces through various agricultural productions and activities. The yields are expected to be supplied to the nearby markets within their municipalities, gradually developing into enterprises where the beneficiaries can actively participate, and secure food supply throughout the region thereby contributing to its food security.
The delivery of these interventions was in response to the mandate of the Department of Agriculture to provide sustainable sources of income in the marginalized farmers in the region. It is also in support to the “Plant, Plant, Plant Program” or “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Laban sa Covid-19”, an initiative of the government which aims to increase the levels of productivity across commodities and ensure food productivity, availability, and affordability in this time of pandemic.
Catanduanes: Vegetable Production Project
Even the adverse weather which brought heavy rain and strong winds in the province of Catanduanes did not stop the conduct of Vegetable Production Project of the program of DA- SAAD Bicol. A total of 129 kilograms (kgs) assorted seeds, consisting upland vegetables such as eggplant, squash, tomato, hot pepper, chilli pepper, upo, pechay, okra, kangkong, pole sitao, cucumber, and lettuce were turned over to 15 farmer groups of the province.
Also included in the package are 250 bags of organic fertilizer and farm implements comprised of 142 pieces wheelbarrow, 9,000 meters HDPE pipes, 303 sets of garden tools, and 2,000 seedling trays. In total, the interventions distributed amounted to Php 2,011,600.00 from the FY 2020 allocation.
Each association received an estimated amount of Php 134,000.00 from the distributed interventions. The farmer-beneficiaries who received the interventions are part of 15 organized associations with at least 35 members from the municipalities of Bagamanoc, San Miguel, Panganiban, Bato, Baras, and Gigmoto in Catanduanes. These associations have already established their communal gardens and most of them have put up their improvised nursery in their area. The distributed seeds will be cultivated in an estimated 15 hectares of land in the province for the whole year. Since the program implementation in 2018, 7 of these 15 associations have already been registered under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), an initiative that will equip and protect them of labor and trade policies.
In an interview conducted by the SAAD Catanduanes Provincial Coordinator, Mr. Tito Bandola, a Suchan Vegetable Farmers Association member, expressed optimism despite being seriously hit by the economic adversities brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Salamat po sa mga ibinigay ng SAAD. Dahil dito mas marami pa ang matutulungan at mas maraming aanihin. Yung mga lupa na dating mga damo lang ang tumutubo, ngayon ay tiyak na magkakaroon na ng iba’t-ibang klase ng gulay,” he shared.
Masbate: Native Chicken Production Project
Observing proper protocols and social distancing in this time of pandemic, SAAD Region 5 conducted the initial implementation of the Native Chicken Production Project costing Php 450,000.00 for the province of Masbate from SAAD FY 2020, benefitting a total of 60 farmer-beneficiaries in the Municipalities of Balud, Mandaon, Esperanza, and Pio V. Corpuz.
The initial delivery of 900 heads of pullets was equally distributed wherein each beneficiary received 15 heads of pullets amounting to Php 7,500.00. Also included in the project are animal housing which will be installed in the recipient’s area.
According to Rose Ann R. Trabado the Area Coordinator of Mandaon, Amy Bulacos one of the beneficiaries from Brgy Centro, Mandaon expressed her delight and gratitude for the program and said “Salamat san damo damon sa SAAD na dili naga saw ana bulgian an amon lugar” (A big thanks to the SAAD program for the untiring support to our municipality) during the distribution.
Dr. Mary Grace Rodriguez, SAAD Bicol Action Officer, shared that the total cost of Native Chicken Production Project in the province is Php 4.37M and will eventually serve a total of 110 beneficiaries.
The pullets are expected to produce eggs in six months and will be up for trade to the nearby markets. The program aims to aid the livelihood capacity of the farmer-beneficiaries especially those in the far-flung areas of the province.
SAAD Region 5 is set to continue the turn-over of pullet to farmers from the municipalities of San Pascual and Monreal on June and is expected to fulfill the project implementation by later this year. ###
Jessamae Gabon, DA SAAD NPMO Public Relations, and Communications Officer
Maribeth A. Magalino, DA SAAD Region 5 Planning Officer
Ms. Lovella P. Guarin, DA SAAD 5 Regional Technical Working Group Member
Dr. Mary Grace DP. Rodriguez, SAAD Action Officer
Maribeth A. Mangalino, SAAD RPMSO Planning Officer
DA-SAAD RFO 5, Agriculture Bicol Facebook
PPMSO Catanduanes and PPMSO Masbate