OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, July 7, 2021 – Over 200 Buhid Mangyan Indigenous People (IP) from four farmers’ associations were granted machinery by the Department of Agriculture (DA) – Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program to increase farm efficiency.
For the year 2021, SAAD Program remains committed to its promise to assist its beneficiaries with sustainability efforts by providing accessible farm technology resources.
The Pangkalikasang Samahan ng Buhid sa Bato-Singit (PSBB FA) with 60 members cultivating an estimated area of 58 hectares (ha) received two hand tractors with complete accessories, four units of water pump with complete accessories, and one unit of a mini thresher amounting to Php 846,445.96.
Forty-six (46) members of the Samahang Katutubong Buhid sa Sitio Panlabayan (SKBSP FA) with an estimated farm area of 40ha received two hand tractors with complete accessories, three units of water pump with complete accessories, and a mini thresher amounting to Php 746,959.47.
The Kalipunan ng Tribung Buhid Lanaban, Kasuyan, at Langog (KTBLKL) with 74 members tilling 73.2ha received two hand tractors with complete accessories as well as three units of pump and engine with complete accessories costing Php 587,459.47.
The associations specialize in rice farming and formerly received certified seeds (RC 216), fertilizers, farm tools such as plow and harrow, draft animal, and collapsible dryer from SAAD in 2020.
The associations received the same sets of farm machinery in 2020. Considering the number of members per group, the existing machines cannot cater to the farming needs of each member.
The last association to receive the machinery package has 43 members. The Mamamayang Kabalikat sa Pangangalaga ng Kagubatan (MAKAPAKA FA), currently cultivating ginger on a 0.5ha land, received one unit of hand tractor with complete accessories totalling to Php 149,500.00. The group also got ginger planting materials (yellow and white) and a collapsible dryer from the program in 2020.
Aside from ginger production, MAKAPAKA FA is also involved in rice farming, with an estimated area of 39ha. The farm machinery was requested by the association to be used for land preparation (both ginger and rice farming) and transporting their products to the local market in Rizal.
Agricultural Center Chief II Gerardo L. Laredo, Municipal Agriculturist Jessie Celestino, Rizal Mayor Sonny Pablo, House Representative Josephine Ramirez-Sato, and Kapitan Bonifacio Custodio who are in full support of the program initiatives were present in the awarding.
Brgy. Manoot, where the associations are situated, is one of the End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) areas in the province, thus the ceremony was assisted by the 4th Infantry Battalion.
“Malaking tulong ang mga makinaryang ito na ibinigay sa amin ng SAAD dahil hindi na kami mahihirapan na manghiram sa mga magsasaka sa patag (ng makinaryang pansaka) lalo na’t liblib ang aming lugar. Mas mapapadali na rin ang gawain naming sa bukid kasi malayo ang pinanghihiraman namin (ng mga makinarya),” said Dino Sebastian, Tribe Mayor of IPs in Brgy. Manoot and Chairman of PSBB FA.
[The machinery provision by the SAAD Program is of great help to us farmers, for we will not have to borrow from farmers in lowland areas (farm machinery) considering that our community is geographically isolated. Machine access will save us from tedious farm work, better than borrowing machines from far-off communities.]
According to Rizal SAAD Area Coordinator Mr. Mario S. Paz Jr., the associations plan to rent out the machines to their members as another way to sustain the project and get a group-allocated profit.
The members agreed to give a number of palay sacks every harvest which the group intends to sell and save for the maintenance of the machines. In addition, the associations are also looking for a possibility to cater to the machinery needs of other non-member farmers to increase the groups’ funds.
Currently, the SAAD Program has given agricultural livelihood interventions to roughly 1,200 indigenous cultural communities mostly belonging to the Mangyan sub-groups in the municipalities of San Jose, Rizal, Abra de Ilog, and Paluan, where 8 barangay units are ELCAC areas in Occidental Mindoro. ###
Writer: Dianne Francis A. Sy, SAAD Information Officer I
Mario S. Paz Jr., SAAD Area Coordinator – Rizal
Jercel N. Catubig, SAAD Area Coordinator – San Jose