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Masbate project emerging as veggie-hub of the community

MASBATE, May 11, 2021– Being a vegetable farmer for a long time, 41-year-old Mr. Jonathan B. Gemino from Barangay San Pedro is very thankful to the Department of Agriculture (DA) – Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program for the increase in income from selling various vegetables (upo, tomato, eggplant, and ampalaya).

The project is gradually becoming a hub for vegetable supply as agricultural produce stands by local farmers arise.

Jonathan is a member of the San Pedro Vegetable Growers Organization (SPVGO) established and registered under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in 2017.  He is one of the new members of SPVGO, identified in 2020 as a SAAD beneficiary.

The association received a Vegetable Production Package consisting of sets of garden tools, plastic mulch, laminated plastic film, wheelbarrow, plastic drum, seedling tray, HDPE pipes, and assorted vegetables seeds, sweet potato cuttings, and organic fertilizers in July 2020 worth Php 1.1 million.

The interventions provided by the program motivated him to be more determined and dedicated to pursuing vegetable farming.

“Noon pa man pagsasaka na ang hanapbuhay ng aming pamilya. Laking pasasalamat ko sa pagdating ng programang SAAD dahil sa interventions na aming natatanggap. Mas lalo pa kaming nagsipag na magtanim ng maraming gulay dahil nakita namin na umangat ang aming income sa paggugulay,” Mr. Gemino said.

As socio-economic and health crises continued, Jonathan persevered in his vegetable cultivation. His produce in his 0.5-hectare plantation area helps his community to get cheaper and fresh access to healthier vegetable selections. For March and April 2021, he harvested a total of 1,423 kilograms of mixed vegetables, earning a total of Php 55,000.

“Malaking tulong ang interventions na ibinigay ng SAAD Program sa amin dahil natugunan ang pangangailangan ng aking pamilya sa araw-araw na gastusin. Lalo kaming nagsipag sa pagtatanim, dati kailangan pa naming pumunta sa bayan para magbenta ng aming produkto. Ngayon, mismong buyer na ang pumupunta sa amin para bilhin ang aming produkto,” he added.

Jonathan used a portion of the produce for the daily consumption of his family, while the rest is apportioned for selling in the community market.

The income generated from the sales of his harvest was used to buy other necessities such as food, medicine, and clothing and the remaining portion is used for the construction of their house that was damaged during the onslaught of typhoon Tisoy.

Table 1. Harvest and income record of Mr. Jonathan Gemino

The regional and provincial agricultural units are committed to extending any assistance they can provide to encourage farmers to continue producing food for their families and the community.

The Municipal Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Office (MAENRO) helped promote their produce within San Pascual through online selling.

“Sa panahon ng pandemic, natigil ng ilang buwan ang pagtitinda ng mga aning gulay, prutas at iba pa sa bagsakan tuwing Linggo. Gayon pa man hindi iyon naging hadlang para tumigil sa pagtatrabaho sa bukid dahil ang aming mga produkto ay inaangkat ng MAENRO at ibinibenta sa bayan. Dahil doon napadali ang pagbenta ng aming produkto,” Jonathan shared. ###

Writer:                 Jay A. Ogaya, DA-SAAD Masbate – Information Officer

Sources:              Elia Kim E. Longcayana, Area Coordinator – San Pascual, DA-SAAD RPMSO 5

Photos by:          Jonathan B. Gemino

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