KALINGA, October 04, 2021 – A 76-year-old Yfangad vegetable farmer of the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program inspires locals to engage in sustainable agriculture, giving out seeds and planting materials to the community.
Widowed for 40 years, Apong Ana Saggob shared she raised her seven children through vegetable farming with locals recognizing her strength and perseverance, treating her like a local superstar in the community.
She said, “Daytuyen ti nagdakkelak ket nakasanayak metten. Nu saan ta agmula awan ti maidasar ta iti lamisaan [This had been what I grew up to and been used to. If we are not going to plant, we have nothing to put on our tables.]”
Locals often call Apong Ana “Afufukor” derived from Apo or elderly and fukor or seeds. She takes the name as the community depends on her as a source of free vegetable seeds.
SAAD’s contribution to the elderly community
In Kalinga, there are over 4,000 indigent senior citizens listed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA).
Recognizing the invaluable contributions of the elderly especially in the workforce of the agriculture sector, the SAAD Program provides livelihood opportunities to seniors in the rural areas who are able and willing to continue to be economically productive and active.
Rural elder and farmer
Before SAAD’s entry in 2020, Apong Ana cultivated bananas, pappait, beans, camote, and cassava on her 450 square meter patch of land her family owns.
Apong Anna’s children moved to the city, with only her youngest child and two grandchildren living with her, keeping her company and helping her tend the family farm.
She personally transports her produce to the city to sell during the day, often returning with earnings that she uses for her family’s needs. At her age, signs of aging particularly on eyes and backbone have manifested but don’t hinder her from her farming livelihood activities.
Her secret to being healthy includes going to her farm and gardening as her daily exercise and eating fresh and nutritious food that she and her family had produced.
Although healthy and upbeat, Apong Ana’s movements were restricted as she belongs to the vulnerable sector per the Department of Health’s recommendation to prevent the possible spread of CoViD-19.
An active member of a Farmers’ Cooperative and Association [FCA], the Magic 78 Lower Bangad Farmers Organization (M78LBFO), Apong Ana often volunteers her farm for field demonstrations, making her colleagues proud of both her feat and generosity.
It was also at Apong Anna’s farm where planting for distributed seedling interventions was demonstrated in 2020, and again to be used for the upcoming Farmers Field School (FFS).
Apong Ana as a SAAD beneficiary
Because of her unwavering love for her farm, the SAAD approved interventions like free-range chicken stocks, fruit tree seedlings, pineapple slips, and vegetable seeds to give Apong Ana additional sources of food and income.
The SAAD-awarded pineapple plants are Apong Ana’s favorite. Now on their fruiting stage, she is excited to gather the yield to be sold in the community and supply her family kitchen.
To further help Apong Ana on farming, SAAD Kalinga plans to introduce a more efficient planting design and methods to improve her production area and hopefully increase the yield of her crops. ###
Writer: Sheena Phine P. Dayagon, Information Officer I – Kalinga