MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL, January 8, 2021 – Two farmers in the province testified that they now have stable income after being included as recipients of the Php 11.2 million worth of CoViD-19 mitigation projects funded by the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program in 2020.
The said projects are in support of the Department of Agriculture’s Plant Plant Plant Program, which aims to sustain farmers’ productivity and earning capacity during this pandemic. The initiative is grounded on the provision of basic, practical, and quick-yielding agricultural interventions to small-scale, home-based farmers, to help them resiliently deal with the long-drawn pandemic.
The initiative benefitted 65 SAAD farmer’s associations with 2,860 members and 3,000 other marginalized farmers in Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, and Misamis Occidental.
The livelihood assistance includes fertilizers, assorted vegetable seeds, sweet corn seeds, and gardening materials which enable the beneficiaries to establish perimeter gardens around their households.
In a monitoring activity conducted by the region in December 2020, they observed that the assistance significantly aided the farmers to pull through the pandemic by producing their own food and earn additional income from their excess vegetable harvests.
Miraluna Perocillo in Baliangao, Misamis Occidental
Miraluna Perocillo, a 43-year old barangay health worker from Baliangao, Misamis Occidental, optimizes SAAD’s CoViD-19 assistance to earn regular monthly income amid the health crisis.
From September to December 2020, Miraluna had a total income of Php 12,000 from selling eggplant. She added that until the vegetable will finally exhaust itself from setting fruits in March 2021, she can still earn up to Php 20,000.
“Right now I managed to earn at least Php 3,000 per month by selling eggplant. My last harvest reached 70 kilograms (kg). Until the plants mature, I think I can manage to earn more than Php 20,000,” Miraluna said.
“At times I get to barter my vegetables for fish peddled in our place, too. With my garden I was able to feed my kids and earn a little extra,” she added.
Miraluna also planted squash, ampalaya, string beans, gourd, and tomatoes in her garden from the pinakbet pack she received from SAAD.
Adelaida Coser in Bonifacio, Misamis Occidental
Adelaida Coser, a recipient of SAAD’s CoViD-19 assistance in Bonifacio, Misamis Occidental, also resorted to selling her vegetable harvests as added income for her family. To date, Ms. Coser had a gross income of Php 22,600.
“I was able to sell more than 1,000 kg of eggplant and 130 kg of okra. Traders bought the vegetables at Php 20/kg. With the earnings I gained from the garden, I was able to buy food for our family, provide for our children’s home-schooling needs and get our house repaired,” Adelaida said, thanking SAAD for the assistance granted to her.
Adelaida and her husband also harvested two sacks of their sweet corn last November 2020. They sold the 50 cobs at Php 15 each in the neighborhood and LGU offices and earned Php 750. The remaining harvests were set aside for consumption.
“As farmers, we need to be extra hardworking in this pandemic. As long as we continue to plant and farm we will survive,” she remarked.
Food supply and additional income
Like Miraluna and Adelaida, the other beneficiaries also managed to sell their extra produce.
“It is our sworn commitment to capacitate and empower our farmers. As the pandemic holds still, DA will constantly look into ways of helping the farmers to get through this pandemic,” said Audy G. Maagad, the SAAD Focal Person of DA 10.
“Our main goal in the implementation of SAAD’s CoViD-19 assistance is to ascertain that the farmers will have readily available food in their home in the course of this pandemic,” Mr. Maagad accounted.
“We are happy to note that the assistance is well-implemented, enabling the farmers to earn too,” he added.
“The farmers and LGUs can expect SAAD’s sustained support until this pandemic dwindles. As long as we continue to help one another, we can surpass these challenges,” Mr. Maagad vowed.
As part of the assistance to the marginalized farmers in the region, this year the program will grant 3,395 head of male and female free-range chicken breeders and chicken feeds through the program’s Free-range Chicken Production Project.
This year, the SAAD Northern Mindanao will continue implementing strategic, upscaled projects geared towards capacitating its beneficiaries to grow as agripreneurs and empowering them to be self-sustaining. ###
Writer: Azbie Talib, SAAD RPMSO 10 Information Officer
Copy Editor: Jennifer Valcobero, SAAD NPMO Public Relation and Comms Officer