Sixty-two-year-old Hatta Jumlani from Barangay Liban Talipao, Sulu, received assistance in cassava farming from the Department of Agriculture (DA) Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program to sustain his family’s daily needs and support his children’s education.
Cassava farming has been the livelihood of most Sulu farmers since the crop is the staple food in the island. In fact, producing cassava is Mr. Jumlani’s only source of income.
“My wife and I help each other in farming. Cassava is easy to grow, and if given attention, has a lot of potentials. Sometimes our children also assist us during harvest season. As a family, we earn Php 8,000.00 from every cassava harvest before we had SAAD,” Mr. Jumlani said.
The income earned is barely enough for a comfortable living; Mr. Jumlani and his wife, Sahaliyah Tuloh, have eight children. Fortunately, four of their older children (ages 27, 26, 24, and 22) have already graduated from college; all of the expenses were paid through cassava farming. However, two of their children are still attending elementary school (11 and 16 years old), one in high school (18 years old), and the other one in college (20 years old) who are staying at Jolo and across the island in Zamboanga.
“I only finished high school and I don’t want to let that happen to my children. As long as I can work, I will work hard just to let them finish studying. My goal for them is to have a good education and have better income and opportunities in life,” Mr. Jumalani uttered in the local dialect.
In 2018, the Kasambuhan ha Kaadilan People’s Organization became a farmer-partner of the SAAD Program in Sulu. The organization is composed of 102 members, including Mr. Jumlali, who received the Diversified Farming Project, which includes goat raising, cassava-corn-peanut production, vegetable production, and layer chicken production.
In January 2020, SAAD delivered to Mr. Jumlani farm tools (1 pc shovel, pick mattock, and scythe, worth Php 1,405.00), farm fencing materials (12 rolls of hog wire worth Php 17,580.00 and 4 rolls of barbed wires worth Php 8,743.00) from the FY 2019 budget under the same project title. He also received 20,000 cassava stalks (good for 1 ha) which were produced by the previous year’s beneficiaries.
“With SAAD assistance, our post-harvest activity became much faster and easier. The shared cassava grater with presser is a big help to us. The fencing materials assured us of the safety of our crops and gave me time to do other works than just guard our crops. My family is very thankful to Ma’am Ann (Analisa Dauring) for the constant guidance and visitation to make sure we become successful,” he shared.
After eight months, Mr. Jumlani earned Php 38,000.00 from the first cassava harvest from the SAAD support on August 23, 2020. He sold 475 blocks of cassava (4 kg/block), which were sold for Php 80.00 per block. Furthermore, he generated employment for some members of the association. He paid the harvesters for Php 300.00/day and peelers for Php 100.00/day.
Analisa Dauring, the SAAD Area Coordinator for Talipao, is very glad that the SAAD program contributed to Jumlani’s success. She said, “As part of SAAD, I am also proud to hear Hatta Jumlani share his story of success, and that part of it was because of the SAAD Program we brought to them.”
“We also thank and acknowledge the barangay chairperson of Liban Bennajar “Ben” Injani and the BLGU who are very active in the community especially in providing transportation to the farmers to bring their products to town,” Ms. Dauring added.
The SAAD Program truly gave hope to the farmers in Sulu. It also improved the way of living of their beneficiaries through immediate livelihood interventions. ###
Writer: Shara Malaica Ussam, Information Officer- SAAD Sulu
Copy editor: Natalianne Marie Delos Reyes, PR & Comms Officer- SAAD NPMO