QUEZON CITY, October 27, 2021- Director Myer G. Mula of the Department of Agriculture Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program visited 8 beneficiaries (5 individuals and 3 groups) in Negros Oriental to monitor the progress of its existing livelihood projects from October 18 to 20, 2021.
Dir. Mula, together with the SAAD7 regional and provincial implementers for both agriculture and fishery sectors, traveled to Amlan, Mabinay, La Libertad, Bayawan, and Basay.
Director’s Visit in Negros Oriental
Dir. Mula met Donald Agir and Liezel Colimbo, both from Amlan, on October 19.
Donald is an individual beneficiary from Amlan who received a buck worth Php 25,000 from Integrated Livelihood Project in 2017. He now has 22 goats since the start of the project.
He used various publications such as magazines, books, and references from the internet to widen his knowledge in goat raising.
He plans to use the income from selling goats to use as capital to buy new stocks of goats and to renovate his old shed. He is also using social media to advertise his goats.
Liezel, on the other hand, received the Backyard Cattle Breeding Project, receiving 1 cattle worth Php 30,000 in November 2020.
Mrs. Colimbo and her son planted napier and ipil-ipil to be mixed in the feeds to sustain the nutrition of the cattle.
Mr. Agir and Mrs. Colimbo were advised to join their local associations so that they can also help other farmers by turning-over the cattle’s offspring to the members. With this, the SAAD program will organize a training on organizational development and a specialized training on foraging and feed management. Dir. Mula also added that the program should coordinate with other agencies such as the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) for the conduct of said training.
On October 20, Dir. Mula visited Rolando Bendanillo, an adopted member of the Baglabeto Bagtic Livelihood Association for Better Association. The group is a recipient of the FY 2019 Upland Rice-Based Farming with Post Harvest Equipment and FY 2020 Corn Based Farming with Vegetable (Hybrid) and Carabao in Mabinay.
From the said projects, Rolando received interventions worth Php 13,971.60 and Php 16,938, respectively.
From 2019 to September 2021, he earned a cumulative sales of Php 170,500 from selling eggplant, ampalaya, cucumber, string beans, and bell pepper.
Despite being a member, he and the members of MKB SLPA were operating as individuals. Because of this, SAAD will provide training on organizational development and record-keeping by 2021.
It was also recommended by the Director for the association to be provided with an incubator under the Chicken Production Project (Layer) and training for the said livelihood.
Dir Mula said that the program will continue to support the MLB SLPA as long as they can assure the sustainability of the projects given to them.
Gabriel Agus, a beneficiary of the fish feeds under the Pond Culture Technology (Tilapia) worth Php12,150 in 2017, Php 8,545 in 2018, and Php 8,320 in 2019 in Mabinay, also shared his project status and gratitude to the program.
He said, “Dako among pasalamat sa SAAD. Daghang mananagat ang naka-avail sa maong project sa SAAD ilabi na katong walay ikapalit og feeds.”
(We are very much grateful for SAAD. Many of our fisherfolks were able to avail of the projects funded by SAAD especially those that could not afford to buy the fishery inputs like the feeds.)
Gabriel was previously toiling on agricultural land. He then converted it into a tilapia farm (tilapyahan) in 2017 and it was very timely that the SAAD Program came when he asked for assistance from the local government unit (LGU) through the agriculture’s office.
His income improved when he ventured into tilapia farming as compared to rice production.
Dir. Mula emphasized on the need to establish a tilapia hatchery. Since the tilapyahan of Gabriel already covered his 1 hectare (ha), the hatchery can sustain the project and will provide fingerlings for his tilapia grow-out culture
Dir. Mula told Dr. Florencia Mepaña, Negros Oriental Provincial Fishery Office head, about this proposal which the latter supports.
Mabinay fishery technician Gladys D. Ignacio said the LGU, for its part, will help Gabriel in boosting the area as an eco-tourism site.
Also another proposal, the program managers are planning to expand the fish farm grow-out culture by rearing other freshwater species other than tilapia.
La Libertad farmer Felix Turtor, who received a packet of goats (1 buck and 4 does) in 2018 under the Goat Production Project worth Php 54,500, also showed project results.
The packet of goats grew into four. From August 2019 to September 2021, Felix has earned a cumulative sales of Php 52,600 from selling 21 goats.
Part of these sales were used to renovate his house, for food and inputs like fertilizer for plants and feeds for Goats. He also used a portion of the sales to pay for a pawned land which he also utilized for agriculture to generate income (e.g., copra).
He currently has 7 does, 1 buck and 6 kids which he used as stock multiplier.
Dir. Mula suggested establishing a goat multiplier farm operated as an association. The Pangca Farmers Association, in which Felix is a member, may sell excess goats (returned goats from association members as payment) and loan funds to their members.
On October 21, Dir. Mula monitored Ohot Rice Farmers and Irrigators Association (ORFIA), which is a recipient of two units of fish cage worth Php 75,000 each under the 2017 Freshwater Tilapia Culture.
Bayawan LGU Fishery Technician Ian Butch Sala said that the livelihood was turned over to the organization in 2021. The intervention included feeds good for two cycles and some construction materials.
The livelihood was previously given to another association in 2017 but has encountered some land ownership problems. This has led the organization to turn over the fish cage to ORFIA. ORFIA gives a part of their sales to the previous owners of the projects, giving 40% of the net income.
Since the start of their operations, they had an initial harvest of 79 kilograms (kg) on October 8, 2021, earning an income of Php 7,900.
Mr. Sala said that Bayawan City was elated to receive several SAAD projects not only for fish cages, but also fiberglass boats.
Dir. Mula gave some recommendations on proper management of fish farms such as providing GPS to easily locate the areas. He also encouraged the LGU to continue the implementation of the existing projects in Bayawan.
Aside from ORFIA, the Organic Farmers Practitioners (90 active members) of Bayawan City was also visited. The group is a beneficiary of the Acquisition of Post-Harvest Facilities.
The association received one unit of kiskisan rice mill, solar bubble dryer, palay cutters, a vacuum sealer, and palay reapers in April 2019. The members use the postharvest equipment without any fees as long as they will replace the fuel and give some amount for its maintenance.
They also received two chillers (one single-door and one two-door) in January 2021 which they use to prolong the shell life of the organic vegetables which are sold in the mini store or organic hub.
The fresh produce is certified by DA Bayawan City as organic products. Every kilo of the product sold, Php 5 goes to the farmer association to serve as their income.
All in all, they received a Php 1,040,000 worth of intervention from SAAD.
The association was advised to share the equipment to other farmers and let them rent it. This scheme will help the other farmers with their postharvest activity, as well as generate additional income for the association.
Also, Dir. Mula met the members of the Cabigtian Cayangcangon Tambo Colos Farmers Association or CACATACOFA who are recipients of the Agricultural Equipment and Support to Rice Production projects in 2017. They also received rice thresher, hand tractor, rubberized rice miller, floating tiller, seeds, and other farm inputs worth Php 1,555,460.
The rice mill is already not functional, but the association was able to secure funds from rental fees using the said equipment. The farmer who uses the machine pays Php 2,000 or in kind (six bags of palay per hectare to the association). With the accumulated funds, the FA was able to buy a new rice mill with the help of the LGU.
The association is venturing on vegetable farming as their rice farming has not been successful due to climate change. This is also recommended as malnutrition is prevalent in the area.
Dir. Mula recommended giving additional intervention related to breeders and free-range chicken to CACATACOFA to help reduce malnutrition.
It was also observed that the association needs specialized training on bookkeeping and product enterprising.
Other activities in Negros Oriental
Dir. Mula paid a courtesy call to the important officials in the LGUs who are key in carrying out the SAAD activities in the province.
The director met with the Amlan Municipal Mayor Manuel Jose C. Sycip, La Libertad Municipal Mayor Emmanuel L. Iway, APCO-Negros Oriental Sarah Perocho, BFAR PFO head Dr. Florencia Mepaña, Engr. Kenneth S. Artes – City Agriculturist of Bayawan City, Ms. Leizel A. Lanzaderas – Municipal Agriculture Officer in Bayawan.
Lastly, Dir. Mula visited a hatchery in Sitio Danapa, barangay Nangka which is managed by the LGU Bayawan City- Fishery Division (Inland Aquaculture) of the City Agriculture Office.
The hatchery was established in early 2000, has a total area of about 7ha, and is considered as the biggest tilapia hatchery in Negros Oriental province.
Dir. Mula appreciated the effort of the LGU in operating a hatchery that may be beneficial to the fish farmers.
Mr. Sala said the LGU is supplying tilapia fry and fingerlings to the neighboring towns and cities since the provincial government could hardly cater the demand of the fish farmers.
Dir. Mula advised the LGU or agriculture’s office – fishery division to enhance its gathering of data of the fishery production, both from inland and wild, in Bayawan and other agricultural commodities.
SAAD in Negros Oriental has been providing assistance to the farmers and fisherfolk from the marginalized areas through agriculture and fishery livelihood projects since 2017, aiming for the beneficiaries to achieve DA’s twin goals of Masaganang Ani at Mataas Na Kita.
Agreements with DA-SAAD Regional and Provincial Implementers
Dir. Mula met with the DA-SAAD staff and was presented with updates on the execution of the program in Negros Oriental.
It was stressed that the province should improve and strengthen in areas such as documentation of activities and profiling of beneficiaries. The director also gave instructions on how to deal with problems in coordination with the LGUs.
SAAD Negros Oriental Provincial Coordinator John Paulie Sunico requested a technical writing training for the drafting of projects which the director has approved. The one-week training will be held in Bohol and will be attended by the SAAD provinces under Region 7. ###
Analiza L. Manaba and Jolina Daño, DA-SAAD Region 7
May Miasco – Cabucos, BFAR PFO 7