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Amid health and economic crises, inclusive growth affirmed as SAAD continues to be an ally of the marginalized in Occidental Mindoro

OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, September 04, 2020 – The Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Region 4B continues to prioritize marginalized farmers who are faced at the forefront of economic depression due to the global pandemic.

As a result of the proactive program realignment of the Department of Agriculture (DA), poor farmers belonging to indigenous communities in Occidental Mindoro receive continuous assistance through interventions and training on food production. Some projects are now in the pre-harvest and partial harvest period.


Corn Production Project up for harvest in Magsaysay

One hundred four (104) Ratagnon-Mangyan farmers, who are beneficiaries of the SAAD Program, are set to harvest from the Corn Production Project by the end of the 3rd quarter this year.

The project, which was turned over to the Indigenous People (IP) farmers from Sitio Bamban, Brgy. Nicolas, was monitored by SAAD Area Coordinator Vilmar Robes on September 1, 2020.

One hundred (100) bags of white corn seeds (OPV white corn Institute of Plant Breeding or IPB Variety 6) worth Php 159,800.00 from FY 2020 funds were granted by the program to Samahang Ratagnon ng Sitio Bamban Farmer’s Association on June 11, 2020. Each member of the association received a sack of corn weighing 20 kilograms. The corn seeds were planted right away on a 50 hectare-land in Sitio Bamban by IP farmers to take advantage of the rainy season.

The farmers are preparing for their harvest which will occur in the latter part of September. They ought to bring the harvested corn to the local market where it will be sold to interested buyers.

Plans of the association were shared in an interview with Samahang Ratagnon ng Sitio Bamban chairperson Mr. Johnny Magbanwa. He said, “Ang plano ng (…) aming asosasyon ay maka(pag)tayo kami ng bodega na bagsakan ng aming mais at cassava. Kapag naka-withdraw ang samahan namin sa bangko, kukuha ako ng tig-one thousand [pesos] bilang membership [fee] namin para pang-tayo ng aming bodega, para may sariling imbakan ang aming mais at kamoteng kahoy,” on their plan to establish storage facilities for their corn and cassava harvests.

“Yung mais naman na puti kung marami ang aming ani, ang kalahati siguro puwedeng pagkain at ang kalahati pangbenta para may pang-gastos muli sa susunod na taniman. At saka magti[ti]ra kami ng mais na pantanim namin sa sunod na taon,” Mr. Magbanwa added.

The harvest will be apportioned for their daily food consumption and enterprise. Each member of the association will save seeds that will be planted for the next season in June 2021 while some will be sold to provide extra income.


Income for beneficiaries of vegetable project in Rizal

Beneficiaries of SAAD Vegetable Production Project in Brgy. Rumbang, Rizal who were awarded 540 packs of assorted vegetable seeds (talong, okra, siling panigang, sitaw, upo, kalabasa, patola, kangkong, and ampalaya) last June 2 have started from their harvest. The vegetables were planted in a 7,000 square meter land in Gawad Kalinga, Brgy. Rumbang.

On September 1, Gawad Kalinga Rumbang Kapitbahayan Livelihood Association first harvested 12 kg okra, 5 kg sitaw, 6 kg patola,  1/2 kg upo, and 1 kg ampalaya. The vegetables were sold to the local market and earned an initial income of Php 460.00. Members of the Gawad Kalinga Rumbang Kapitbahayan Livelihood Association are anticipating more harvests of vegetables and additional income in the coming days as they await crop maturity.


Abra de Ilog IP farmers harvest vegetables for daily consumption

Meanwhile, members of the Udalo Vegetable Farmers’ Association started reaping from their backyard gardens in Brgy. Udalo, Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro. Beneficiaries received a total of 280 packets of 9 kinds of vegetable seeds (ampalaya, sitaw, okra, kalabasa, talong, kangkong, siling panigang, patola and upo) from the SAAD Program Vegetable Production Project, turned over on June 3, 2020. The assorted vegetable seeds were planted in July.

According to Ms. Wenalyn Manalo, chairperson of the Udalo Vegetable Farmers’ Association, the vegetable seeds are helpful in sustaining their daily needs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Malaking tulong po ang mga gulay na ipinagkaloob niyo samin may pangkonsumo na ngayong panahon ng pandemya. Maraming salamat po sa DA-SAAD,” said Manalo.

On August 29, the beneficiaries harvested 20 kg sitaw, 10 kg talong, 20 kg okra, and 10 kg ampalaya, giving them access to nutritious food despite immobility caused by the community quarantine. They expect to gather more vegetables in the coming days of September.

The 110 beneficiaries belong to the Iraya-Mangyan tribe who are also recipients of state support such as 4Ps (Pantawid ng Pamilyang Pilipino Program) and MCCT (Modified Conditional Cash Transfer) from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.


Veggie farmers’ group in Sta. Cruz holds monthly meeting, pest-prevention measures, gathers produce as one community

The PinakBest Farmers Association held its monthly meeting in Brgy. Kurtinganan, Sta. Cruz on August 22, presided by Chairman Abraham Nening.  The meeting was facilitated by Mr. Johnnie Ramos (Agricultural Technologist at the Office of the Municipal Agriculture) and SAAD Area Coordinators Mr. Jhonzell Panganiban and Mr. Ian Von Yadao.

The meeting agenda included the schedule of project site visits, financial status of the association, issues, and concerns, and incoming projects and interventions for the association.

Community-led scheme for project maintenance. One group is scheduled to visit the community vegetable garden each day to remove weeds, prune the leaves, do fogging, and harvest. There is also an assigned member in-charge of vending the harvested crops. The sales go to the association’s funds and will be used in purchasing necessary farming tools and materials.

The group also discussed the association’s financial status including membership fees, registration fees, annual fees, and the revenues generated from the vegetable project. In the future, the association is looking at opening a stall in the public market so they can sell their produce at a competitive price.

The meeting addressed the community’s need for seeds with greater germination rate and high-yielding capacity ideal for vegetable production and expanding vegetable varieties.

The PinakBest Farmers Association is set to receive 25 sets of farm tools which were initially delivered to the Office of Municipal Agriculture on August 22. Every set worth Php 2,450.00 consists of a shovel (Php 390.00, with handle, flat blade), asarol (Php 483.00, galvanized iron with a wooden handle), rake (Php 495.00, 12-teeth with 1 meter long G.I. pipe handle), spading fork (Php 280.00, made of steel with handle, 60 cm long), piko (Php 522.00, with good quality wooden handle) and sprinkler (Php 280.00, plastic, 2-gallons capacity).

After the meeting, the association conducted weeding, pruning, and fogging to prevent insects and pests from infesting their crops.

Continued harvest. The PinakBest Farmers Association with 15 identified beneficiaries may be recalled to have received assistance worth Php 77,760.00 under the DA-SAAD FY 2020 for the Vegetable Production Project. Initially, the communal harvest held on August 17 gathered 2.5 kg ampalaya, 0.5 kg okra, 1 kg upo, and 6.65 kg of sitaw. The vegetables were sold to the market and earned Php 319.50. The second harvest last August 22 collected 2.5 kg ampalaya, 3 kg okra, 3 kg upo, and 4.5 kg sitaw, from which the association earned an additional Php 416.00.

Chairman Abraham Nening of the PinakBest Farmers Association expressed gratitude to the DA-SAAD Program for the interventions and assistance they received which provided them with extra income. “Kami po ay nagpapasalamat sa mga kinauukulan sa DA para sa mga bagay na naitulong nila sa amin. Lalong lalo na sa pagpapalago ng pangkabuhayan lalo na sa gulayan. Salamat po sa SAAD program sa aming lugar para magkaroon kami ng karagdagang income sa aming pagsasaka. Salamat po at napagkatiwala sa akin bilang Chairman ng PinakBest Farmers Association,” said Mr. Nening.

“Eto po yung naging bunga ng aming pagpapagal mula pagbibigay po nila ng mahahalagang buto ng pananim. Eto na po ang realidad kung saan makikita na po ang aming mga halaman na nagtagumpay po ang kanilang pagbunga at ngayon po ay nakikita na po yung katugunan sa pangangailangan ng maraming magsasaka. Patuloy po kami nagpapasalamat sa gabay ng gobyerno sa pangunguna ni Secretary Dar maging sa aming MAO ng Sta. Cruz, Occidental Mindoro,” Mr. Nening added. He hopes that DA will continually help alleviate the poverty rate of marginalized farmers in the province.

Furthermore, Mr. Nening said, “nawa ay lalo pang paigtingin ng Department of Agriculture ang pagtulong sa mga magsasakang katulad naming patungo sa buhay na masagana bilang mamamayang Pilipino.” He is looking forward to intensifying DA’s assistance to improve the quality of life of Filipino farmers.

Christopher Hugno, Public Information Officer (PIO) of the PinakBest Farmers’ Association, said that “ang project na itong gulayan ay malaking tulong sa aming pamilya dito sa Brgy. Kurtinganan. Salamat po sa mga technician at sa MAO dahil ang programang ito ng gobyerno ay malaking tulong para maging maluwag ang aming buhay, bilang pangtustos sa bawat pamilya.” Mr. Hugno thanked the lot owner, Mr. Domingo Vergara, for his generosity in allowing the vacant lot to be used by the association as a community garden.

“Isang malaking pasasalamat at ginamit kayo ng Panginoon para kami’y tulungan, sa pagbibigay ng kaalaman sa amin kung paano magtanim ng gulay, kung paano pangalagaan ang kalikasan, at kung paano i-drive ang buhay ng pamilya.” Mr. Hungo was thankful for the knowledge imparted to them regarding proper cultivation of vegetables, caring for the environment, and their family.

The partial harvest was apportioned between table food consumption and extra livelihood of the association. Continued harvest is expected in the following months.

The intensified vegetable and livestock program is based on DA’s directive to prioritize production and production-related inputs in response to the call of food security during the recent global health crisis. ###


Marshall Louie Asis, DA-SAAD MIMAROPA Information Officer

Reference and photos:

Vilmar Robes, SAAD Area Coordinator in Magsaysay

Jhonzell Panganiban

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