SULU, January 21, 2021 – Residents of barangay Kanmidus, Luuk are expecting to harvest 39 tons of rice or 800 sacks (50kg/sack) from their 10 hectares (ha) area in April 2021.
The DA through the Special Area for Agriculture Development (SAAD) Program made access to food easier for the 27 members of the Batu-batu Farmers’ Association (BBFA) as 17 of them received inputs from the Cassava-Corn-Peanut Project while 10 received the Rice Production Project.
“We plant rice to eat, not to sell,” said Abraham “Abra” Nasilin, president of BFFA. The people who live far from Jolo experience difficulties in buying rice for their household consumption. The round-trip transportation fare to Luuk was only Php 100, but doubled due to the social distancing protocols implemented in taking public utility vehicles because of the CoViD-19 pandemic.
“In sien ipami bugas nagsisibuh da iban sin pagsukay madtu mari” (The money intended for rice is already worth the same with roundtrip fare) said Abra as he expressed the challenge faced by his community in buying rice when they only have enough money for rice but not for the fare.
The BBFA farmers were like other farmers in Sulu who feel disheartened to welcome government projects due to their past experiences. But, Al-Anas “Nhat” Yusop (Area Coordinator of Luuk and Panamao) and Alkhartemar Sangkula (Area Coordinator of Parang) showed dedicated efforts to talk to the farmers in Luuk. They brought more than just interventions but also pure intentions, as the farmers agreed to put their trust on the SAAD Program.
“Bakas yadtu, awn dasab nagdihil kamuh kabuhianan byaini sah bukun amun magtatanum tud in kyadihilan, bakas, isa– isa ko da mag tanum bugas, nahinang kami upat, pitu, pagdatung man in SAAD timaud na kami” (Before you came, there were others who came to us and promised us support, but they gave it to the non-farmers. Before you, I used to work alone, then we gathered in four and then seven, and then SAAD organized us to become more) Abra expressed in disbelief and joy at the same time.
In 2020, BFFA received farm inputs with a total worth of Php 657,384. SAAD delivered 168 rolls of hog wire worth Php 317,856; 20 rolls of barb wire worth Php 29,160; 24 sacks of unshelled peanuts worth Php 88,248; and 50 bags organic fertilizer worth Php 24,000 under Cassava-Corn-Peanut Production in September.
For the Rice Production Project, the program provided 24 bags of inorganic fertilizer worth Php 28,620 and 10 sacks of rice seeds worth Php 20,000. One floating tiller (mudboat type) worth Php 149,500 was also delivered in November.
“Malagguh tud in tabang ini kamuh” (This is such a big help to us) said Abra. He said the farm inputs support revived their lost motivation to plant rice, but with SAAD’s assistance, they felt appreciated and took a bigger dream of planting rice not just for them to eat but also to sell to earn some income.
Abraham expressed his gratitude in Tausug saying “Magsarang sukul kami ha SAAD, labi lubah na kay Sir Nhat way nag bista sin lug iban laul kamu ha pagdahan sin mga kagugunahan namuh ha pag uma” (On behalf of my co-farmers we would like to thank SAAD, especially to Sir Nhat who did not give up on us and really brought the livelihood that we need.)
He also took the opportunity to express his gratitude to the SAAD area coordinators and said that had it not been for them, they wouldn’t be where they are now. They appreciate and welcome SAAD into their lives.
“Helping others is worth it especially when you know that you are helping the right ones,” said Al-Anas Yusop pertaining to the kind farmers of BBFA. ###
Writer: Shara Malaica Ussam, Information Officer- SAAD Sulu
Copy-editor: Natalianne Marie O. Delos Reyes, PR and Comms Officer- SAAD NPMO