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Old man’s new life journey

A Success Story through Cassava-Corn-Peanut Farming in Sulu

Atat Alih, a 68-year-old farmer from Brgy. Tubod, Talipao, Sulu, is thankful for the income he makes through the Department of Agriculture (DA) – Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program’s Diversified Farming Project.

“40 years in farming, but it’s my first time to sell Php 50,000.00 for my cassava harvest,” shared Apah Atat (Uncle Atat).

According to Apah Atat, he usually earns Php 4,000.00-8,000.00. His maximum sales can go up to Php 10,000.00 from one harvest season. Having 10 family members to feed, the sales from the harvest is just enough for food expenses.

Before the SAAD Program was implemented in the barangay, Apah Atat said that farming was really difficult. He used to prepare his land with his bare hands, taking almost two weeks to finish it alone.

Another challenge he and other farmers face is when animals such as wild boars destroy their planted crops. He said, “I felt so hopeless. It was so frustrating to see that my plants have been destroyed by the stray animals, I can’t do anything but to plant again.”

In 2019, Apah Atat and 9 other beneficiaries from the Kasambuhan sin Barangay Tubod Farmers’ Association (70 members) received Cassava-Corn-Peanut Production livelihood interventions worth Php 671,522.50.

The project consists of 10 bags of corn (Php 1,730 per bag), 30 bags of unshelled peanuts (Php 1,730), 30 rolls barbwire (Php 2,185.75 per roll); 110 rolls of hogwire (Php 2,000 per roll); 120 bag of organic fertilizer (Php 480 per bag); farm tools consisting 10 pcs of shovel (Php 450 per piece), pick mattock (Php 505 per piece), and scythe (Php 450 per piece); and one cassava grater with presser (Php 181,500 per unit) for communal use.

Apah Atat received a bag of corn seed, three bags of unshelled peanuts, three rolls of barbwire, 11 rolls of hogwire, 12 bags of organic fertilizer, and one set of farm tools.

With the help of one of his sons, he immediately used the hog wires and barbed wires to protect his 1-hectare farm, and used the farm tools to prepare his land.

“It only took me 7 days to prepare the soil before planting. The farm tools saved me so much time, labor,  and energy,” he said.

Apah Atat first planted peanuts and harvested 56 kg worth Php 5,700 in April 2020. In July, he harvested 850 kg corn worth Php 17,000.

“I can’t lie, there’s really a huge difference with fence! Before, I cannot expand my plantation due to the fear of wild animals eating and destroying my crops. But now, with mercy from God I can maximize it,” he added.

Cassava was the third crop he planted using the cassava stalks from his previous harvest. He produced 2,485 kg of cassava worth Php 50,000. Apah Atat, with his earnings, bought two cows to help in plowing.


Crops Area Planted
Date Harvested Total Kg Harvested
Total Sales
Peanut 1 April 5, 2020 56 5,700.00
Corn 1 July 12, 2020 850 17,000.00
Cassava 1 August 17, 2020 2,485 50,000.00

Further, they used to sell their harvested cassava in Jolo. Now, the buyer negotiates with them for the price of their entire harvest of cassava. The harvesting is also shouldered by the buyer.

Apah Atat was in tears when he expressed his gratitude to SAAD. “If I compare my life before to what I have right now, I can say that I am so blessed, and it gave me motivation to work harder so that the sacrifices of Ma’am Ann (Talipao SAAD Area Coordinator) in delivering and monitoring the livelihood intervention brought by the SAAD won’t be wasted.”

“Atat Alih is one of the most hardworking farmers that I know. Considering his age, he still manages to feed and support his family. Through the SAAD Program, we want to help farmers like Atat Alih experience an income that would equal their effort” said Analisa Dauring.

The SAAD Program didn’t just give new hope to the farmers but it also gave them motivation to work harder. ###


Writer:               Shara Malaica Ussam, Information Officer- SAAD Region 9

Copy-editor:      Natalianne Marie O. Delos Reyes, PR and Comms Officer- SAAD NPMO

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Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program Online ISSN: 2718-9791
Published by the SAAD National Program Management Office Editorial Board

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