OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, February 23, 2022 – The Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) National Director Myer G. Mula visited the recipients of the Solar-Powered Irrigation System (SPIS) Project in Rizal and Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro on February 15-16, 2022.
The project aims to boost their vegetable production as lack of irrigation and water supply prevents farmers from planting during drought season.
SPIS utilizes solar energy to draw water from an underground source for irrigation and domestic water use. This system can irrigate 3-5 hectares of agricultural land.
One unit of SPIS was awarded to Samahang Magsasaka ng Gulay sa Tabing Ilog ng Amaling II in Rizal, benefiting 20 vegetable growers. The association cultivates a 0.8 ha communal garden focused on pakbet vegetable production while each member tends to their backyard vegetable garden which comprises 1 ha of land.
The association was established in 2021 and currently at the starting point of their second cycle. Drought has prevented them from working on the second cycle of production but with water provided by the SPIS, the group can start cultivating their lands and recover from their storm-havocked first cycle of plantation.
During Director Mula’s visit, Municipal Agriculturist (MA) Jehu Michael Barrientos commended SAAD’s contribution to the farmers and its holistic approach has amplified the program’s impact to the beneficiaries.
“Malaki ang impact ng SAAD…ang mga proyektong ibinibigay ng SAAD ay nagkakaroon ng chain reaction sa community dahil nagkakaroon ng livelihood ang mga magsasaka at nagkakaroon ng pagkain sa hapagkainan,” shared MA Barrientos.
(SAAD has great impact…SAAD’s projects produce chain reactions in the community because it provides livelihood for the farmers and brings food to the table.)
“Your communal garden will be your learning site. Para sa mga members na nagtatanim din sa kanilang mga bakuran, patuloy kayong magtanim ng gulay kahit sa tag-ulan dahil mataas ang presyo nito. May mga technologies na pwedeng i-apply para matulungan kayo sa pagtatanim,” Director Mula said.
(Your communal garden will be your learning site. To the members that are tending their own garden, continue to plant vegetables even during the wet season when the price is high. There are technologies that can be applied to help you.)
Two SAAD vegetable growers’ associations were awarded SPIS and knapsack sprayer during the Director’s visit in Magsaysay to aid in their production.
The Cagulayan Farmers Association (CFA) situated in Brgy. Calawag and Laste Vegetable Association (LVA) in Brgy. Laste are into pakbet vegetable production.
According to Magsaysay Senior Agriculturist Florence Limos, the lack of irrigation hinders farmers from planting during the dry season which resulted to price increase of vegetables in the local market.
“Malaking tulong ang SPIS para makapagtanim ang mga benepisyaryo ng gulay kahit sa tag-araw at magkaroon sila ng hanap-buhay.” added Mr. Limos.
(SPIS is a great help so that farmers can plant even during the dry season and provide a livelihood for them).
Aside from planting during the wet season, Director Mula also encouraged the growers in Magsaysay to explore organic farming to produce quality products with minimum aid of chemical farm inputs.
Both associations are currently in their first cycle of production. LVA plans to establish a communal garden for their association to strengthen camaraderie and learn within the group. On the other hand, CFA will fortify the perimeter of their communal area to prevent crop damages from external elements such as harsh winds and animals.
Dir. Mula looks forward to the enterprise development of the three vegetable growers’ associations. He also added that engagement with the Agricultural Training Institute and Agribusiness Marketing Assistance Service for marketing and branding is essential for the groups’ sustainability and success. ###
Writer: Dianne Francis A. Sy – SAAD Information Officer I
Sources: Vilmar J. Robes – SAAD Area Coordinator – Magsaysay
Mario S. Paz Jr., – SAAD Area Coordinator – Rizal