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SAAD vegetable production project, a lifeline for Masbate couple

MASBATE, July 30, 2021 – A couple in Masbate found extra income and access to fresh, nutritious food as they engage in the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program’s vegetable production project.

Allan Gemino, 44 years old, is a barangay tanod (barangay police officer) in San Pedro, San Pascual. He is married to Marilou, 37 years old, who is a laundry worker.

Aside from their usual jobs, they are also managing a 2,500 square meter (sqm) vegetable garden.

Allan and Marilou are both members of the San Pedro Vegetable Growers Organization (SPVGO) established and registered under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in 2017. They were identified as beneficiaries of the SAAD Program in 2018.

Over the past three years, they were provided with various interventions under the SAAD High-Value Crops (HVC) Project.

In June 2021, the farmer-couple received a vegetable production package consisting of assorted vegetable seeds, garden tools, plastic mulch, seedling tray, plastic drum, laminated plastic film, wheelbarrow, HDPE pipes, sweet potato cuttings, and organic fertilizers sourced from FY 2021 fund.

Table 1. Income from Harvest of Mr. Allan Gemino

Mr. and Mrs. Gemino harvested an estimated 190 kilograms (kg) of assorted vegetables, apportioning 30% for their consumption. The remaining 134.5kg vegetables generated Php 5, 495 sold within the community and the neighboring town of Claveria.

“Simula noong dumating ang SAAD, hindi na kami gaanong nahihirapan sa aming araw-araw na pamumuhay. Napakalaking tulong po nito sa amin, nakakapagpaaral kami ng aming mga anak.” Marilou shared.

[When SAAD started to provide us assistance, we were no longer struggling with our day-to-day life. It is of great help to us, as we can support our children’s education.]

The importance of family-farming roles

As a barangay tanod, Mr. Gemino is barely earning Php 1,000 a month while Marilou is earning Php 2,000 monthly. Their interest in farming through the SAAD project was enhanced and used to support their household needs and fund their children’s education.

They purchased household appliances, converted their wooden windows into glass type, and purchased two mobile phones for their children’s online classes.

Allan and Marilou plan to venture into value-adding activities such as food processing by producing pickled vegetables.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), national food security and welfare development start at home. As household members engage in farming, the family maximizes the impact of each unique role in food security as independent producers and caretakers of the household.

Families engaged in farming activities contribute to a balanced model of men and women’s unique perceptions in production and agriculture; giving a higher chance to promote interactive food production, inclusion, and preparation fit to the family’s nutrition requirement, altogether improving livelihood opportunities and household-specific needs.

While the SAAD’s design works toward poverty alleviation through capacitating beneficiaries to take part in food production and create products competitive enough to engage in enterprise development, a collaboration that starts within the household is a great step towards attaining this ultimate goal. ###

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


Photos by: Allan and Marilou Gemino

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