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Catanduanes farmers maximize DA-SAAD vegetable project opportunities through food processing

CATANDUANES, MAY 5, 2021 – High-Value Crops (HVC) Project beneficiaries of the Department of Agriculture (DA) – Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program earned additional income from selling value-added products such as atsara, vegetable fritter (okoy), and turmeric tea from their harvested crops.

Evelyn’s atsara, okoy, and special yema peanut butter

Evelyn D. Ogalesco, a member of the Sioron High-Value Commercial Farmers Association (Sioron HVCFA), maximized her vegetable production project through value-adding.

The project was turned over in January 2020, which mitigated adverse economic impact of the pandemic, especially to the rural marginalized communities.

Though Evelyn started making atsara in 2017, she now uses raw materials from their 220 square meters HVC communal garden organized by the Program in Barangay Sioron, Gigmoto, Catanduanes.

She earns about Php 1,500 weekly from selling atsara and vegetable fritters which most of the ingredients are sourced from their garden (i.e. ginger, radish, sili, and ampalaya).  A 250 gram (g) jar of atsara sells for Php 55, while the 500g sells for Php 110.

Evelyn also made vegetable fritters from her excess vegetable harvests. Vegetable fritters are chopped vegetables coated with egg batter (a mixture of water, flour, egg, and seasoning), then deep-fried to a golden brown. It is a famous merienda or afternoon snack within her neighborhood, valued at Php 100 for 30 pieces.

Even though Evelyn’s products are made to order, she worked twice as hard as she also peddled them. Aside from her neighbors and friends, Evelyn also accepted orders from people who resell her products in Virac and other municipalities.

Nagsimula akong gumawa ng mga processed foods noong 2017. Namimili pa ako noon ng mga sangkap sa palengke. Ngayon, dahil may mga naaani na kaming gulay, halos lahat ng ginagamit kong ingredients ay galing na sa SAAD. Lahat ng uri ng gulay pwede gamitin. Ito talaga ang bumuhay sa amin ngayong pandemic. Kung wala ito, wala kaming pagkukuhanan ng pambili ng kailangan namin. Dahil dito, napag-aaral ko ang aking anak na kumukuha ng kursong criminology. Dahil din sa SAAD, hindi na ako ngayon nagigipit. Hindi ko na naramdaman mangutang dahil pwede ko nang ipagbili itong mga naani kong mga gulay, kaya napakalaki talaga ng pasasalamat ko sa SAAD,” she shared.

Evelyn also made ‘Peanut Butter Special’, a peanut butter mixture infused with milk, eggs, and margarine. Most of her suki described it as a ‘peanut butter with a yema-like taste’.

Evelyn is delighted by the recent SAAD Program’s peanut seeds distribution on May 6 as it will significantly reduce the production cost of her special peanut butter soon.

Table 1. Evelyn Ogalesco’s projected production quantity and profit

*Production and profit table is subject to change considering the informal nature of the business

The Sioron HVCFA with 44 members was also provided with a set of cooking utensils on April 6. The set includes an impulse sealer, a heavy-duty chopping board, 1 set of kitchen utensils, 1 set of heavy-duty cooking pots, and various personal protective equipment (apron, masks, hairnets).

SAAD hopes to boost the association and its members’ capability to sustain and eventually create opportunities for themselves.

Luz’ Turmeric Tea

San Roque Vegetable Association (SRVA) Chairperson Luz C. Tardaguila from Brgy. San Roque, Bato, Catanduanes, sees turmeric tea-making as a way to maximize their project.

Luz has been using her harvested ginger from the group’s garden to create homemade turmeric tea since 2019.

Her flourishing business’ market ranges from barangay locals to buyers from other municipalities in the province.

Her independent production can accommodate 20-25 bottles of 250-gram turmeric tea, selling at Php 100 each. From this, she earns Php 1,500-2,000/month.

Table 2. Luz Tardaguila’s projected production quantity and profit

*Production and profit table is subject to change considering the informal nature of the business

In January, a big chunk of the sales of the SRVA came from selling vegetables in Bato Public Market. In the following month, they started planting various vegetables such as sitaw, ampalaya, pechay and okra in their newly relocated communal garden, with an area of 400 square meters to utilize more space for planting peanut and sweet potato.

Eager to establish an enterprise and sustain their vegetable production project from SAAD, some members of the SRVA also engaged in creating molido candies (sweetened squash), camote cue, and atsara from excess harvests.

As SRVA chair, Luz envisions their group to be more productive and enthusiastic in engaging on independent and local enterprises.

To maximize state benefits, the association plans to acquire a registration from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to ensure consumer protection and to increase marketing leverage for their produce.

This year, the SRVA is in line to receive food processing equipment from SAAD to further boost their business. The provision includes kitchen utensils, weighing scale, crates, bottle sealer, storage containers, packaging materials, personal protective equipment, and hygiene kits.

Through her example, several group members are now encouraged to try vegetable processing as it extends the shelf life of their harvests and increases its monetary value.

The SAAD Program will be providing training on value-adding practices, which is scheduled for the 3rd quarter of this year.

For inquiries and orders to our Catanduanes local farmers, you may reach the contact numbers below:

Ms. Evelyn Ogalesco – +63951-772-3364

Ms. Luz Tardaguila – +63995-973-7912 / +63933-441-2449




Sarah Jane C. Taway, DA SAAD Catanduanes – Information Officer

Maria Sandra Guinguing, DA SAAD Bicol Region RPMSO – Information Officer


Sources: PPMO Catanduanes, DA SAAD Bicol Region RPMSO


Photo Sources: Sarah Jane C. Taway, Romy Judson G. Eusebio

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