ANTIQUE, July 2, 2021 – Elmer Roquero, a beneficiary of the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program of the Department of. Agriculture (DA) in Barangay Tigmamale, Valderrama in Antique earned Php 10,525 from organic vegetable production.
Roquero, a 54-year-old farmer who cultivated the fertile grounds of Valderrama for many years, realized the potential of his eggplant production.
In November 2020, Roquero and the 9 first-in-line beneficiaries of the group received Php 348,460 worth of Organic Backyard Vegetable Production Project from SAAD.
The bundle consists of 2.5 cans of hot pepper, eggplant, squash, and bell pepper seeds. It also has every piece of equipment they need for farming vegetables.
After two months of hard work, Roquero’s harvested 29 kilograms (kg) of eggplant and sold it at their town’s public market for a price of Php 25/kg. Seeing how successful their first harvest was, Roquero was convinced and inspired to tend his 0.5-hectare eggplant plantation even more.
Roquero gives a small portion of his harvest for his family’s daily consumption and sells the rest to their town market. Below (Table 1) is the breakdown of Roquero’s eggplant yield and profit:
Table 1. Roquero’s Eggplant Yield and Profit
|Harvest Date||Total Harvest
|Total Gross Income||10,525|
Planting eggplants is more than challenging. According to Roquero, patience and hard work are needed. He will wake up before the sun rises to inspect plants for red ants or insect pests that may cause damage to his produce.
Roquero does not advise using any types of chemicals in his production. He uses his mix of oregano leaves and chili, which is safer and cost-effective than any chemical-based pesticide.
Roquero expresses his deepest gratitude toward the program implementation in Valderrama, not only giving them the support they needed but also helping the daily needs of their families.
“We are grateful to SAAD for not only giving us, farmers, the support we needed but also helped our families sustain our daily needs,” Roquero said.
Also, the SAAD project brings numerous positive effects to the farmers in their area. The people in their neighborhood are now more immersed in vegetable farming instead of playing “tong-its”.
Roquero leads the Tigmamale Valderrama Irrigators Association, Inc. which already has 67 active members.
In the coming years, Roquero plans to establish a center or “bagsakan” at the town proper where they can sell their goods to the local customers and vegetable suppliers from other municipalities.
The SAAD Program of the Department of Agriculture has been delivering livelihood projects since 2019 to bolster the marginal farmers’ rice, corn, vegetable, and animal production in the 7 priority municipalities in Western Visayas. ###
Writer: Christ John Gamarcha, SAAD Region 6 Information Officer