APAYAO, June 24, 2021 – Fifty-one-year-old Maxima Camayang established her fishery and piggery business after earning from the Department of Agriculture (DA) – Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program’s vegetable production project.
Maxima, president of the Upstream Livelihood Farmers’ Association in Brgy. Dagupan, Luna, Apayao, used her initial earnings worth more than Php 55,000 to expand her livelihood.
About Upstream Livelihood Farmers’ Association
The SAAD-led vegetable production project worth Php 493,700 was turned over to the Upstream Livelihood Farmers’ Association in 2019 which included four units of rain shelters, two knapsack sprayers, 11 shovels, and 22 seedling trays.
Composed of 158 members, the group was registered as a Farmer Cooperative and Association (FCA) of the SAAD and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The members come from five barangays in Luna which include Dagupan, Shalom, Bacsay, San Gregorio, and Salvacion.
Maxima Camayang and vegetable gardening as household income
Through the SAAD Program, Maxima now has a stable source of income.
“Para kinyak nga maysa nga naikkan iti benepisyo iti programa iti SAAD, dakkel iti naitulong na etuy nga rain shelter ta kasla ahijay kakadwak, adan iti pag mulaak iti seedlings uray ana nga panawen. Gapo ta etuy nga rain shelter ket nagbalin nga katulungak, imado iti production ko ta idi awan pay… umanay lang nga pang pamilyak iti harvest ko bilang maysa nga agmul-mula iti nateng,” shared Maxima.
[Through the rain shelter vested by the SAAD program, I was able to boost my vegetable production. Before the SAAD Program grants us rain shelter, I can only yield vegetables for our family’s consumption. But now that we have a greenhouse that can help us to produce more vegetable seedlings, I can now earn profit through selling around our locality.]
According to Maxima, she started to use FCA’s rain shelter during the dry season of June 2019. Driven by a determination to further prosper, she managed to establish her own production area spanning 2,446 square meters (sqm).
Every harvest period, Maxima sold her produce to the community and saved an accumulated amount of Php 55,820 from five cropping seasons from June 2019 to May 2021 (Table 1). Using this, a fishery and piggery business was slowly established.
Table 1. Sales from five cropping seasons
“Jay earnings ko kin agitay nalakwak ket insave ko tapno makapaaramidak iti fishpond. Gapo ta nakaawatak met iti 1,500 nga fingerlings agapo iti BFAR ninayunak met akas nga counterpart ko nga gimatang iti 1,000 nga fingerlings bilang pag rugyan,” shared Maxima.
[I initiated to take the opportunity to manage my earnings from vegetable production. I was lucky to invest my earnings into fishery. I was able to establish a fishpond, and with the help of BFAR, I was granted at least 1,500 fingerlings. As an additional, on my part I purchased 1,000 fingerlings as an additional stock.]
As a regular program of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Maxima was granted free fingerlings for her pond and purchased from her own pocket an additional 1,000 for her venture. She said she could not have established her 416sqm tilapia farm if she did not improve her vegetable production through the SAAD rain shelter project.
“Nu amom iti rigat, talaga nga masur-surum iti ada determinasyon na [The struggle brought by poverty is my utmost determination],” she added.
Like all forms of agriculture, Maxima believes home gardening involves perseverance.
“Agyamanak iti SAAD program ta nu haan nga gapo kin etuy nga intervention, gana it kuma pelang ket haan nga kasta kangato iti namnamak iti vegetable gardening ta talaga nu idi ket pang family consumption lang nu apay nga ada iti home gardening ko,” said Maxima.
[Big thanks to the SAAD program because of the vegetable production project, I was able to boost my home gardening which allows me to improve my harvests, resulting in more opportunities not only as a vegetable grower at home but also as a vegetable vendor that has community participation.]
Plans of the FCA
With the individual success of Maxima, the members of the Upstream Livelihood Farmers’ Association now plan to organize a communal gardening project to earn bigger profits and eventually establish a talipapa in their locality in a bid to sell varied local products and promote healthy eating habits in the community. ###
Writer: Kathleen Faye B. Agonoy, Information Officer I, Province of Apayao
Philippine Rural Development Plan Provincial Commodity Investment Plan 2016-2019, 2020