SOUTHERN LEYTE, February 17, 2022 – Two months after the catastrophic damage to infrastructure and agriculture brought by Typhoon Odette, a farmer association (FA) in Liloan, Southern Leyte stays resilient and hopeful for the continuation of the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program in the region.
Due to the devastation caused by Typhoon Odette, some SAAD beneficiaries in Southern Leyte felt they were not yet ready to undertake the proposed big-ticket projects to be implemented in the province, namely: a minimart, meatshop, and a balut/salted egg enterprise. These intended projects were then substituted to livelihood production projects from the other four (4) SAAD–covered provinces in the region to assist the calamity–battered farmers.
Though still recovering from the typhoon’s aftermath, the 15-member San Isidro Farmers Association (SIFA) requested that the minimart project be retained, since the association originally proposed to embark on the venture. SIFA justified that because of the association’s sufficient funds, managing and sustaining the minimart is viable.
On February 2, 2022, a coordination meeting attended by Municipal Agriculturist Nanneth Aquiatan, Agricultural Provincial Coordinating Officer Gabriel Baugbog, Provincial Coordinator Jocelyn Cabanas, Area Coordinator Lourdes Abueva, and SIFA President Ida Manual was held at the Municipal Agriculture Services Office in Liloan. During the discussion, it was agreed that the minimart project will be retained, with SIFA managing it.
“Maningkamot jud mi nga dili masayang ang injong pagsalig nga ipabilin namo ang minimart project. Among ampingan ang guihatag nga oportunidad sa SAAD sa among asosasyon. Palambuon pa ni namo, pinaagui sa nahabilin nga mga anay, baktin, ug pondo namo,” SIFA President Manual said.
(We will do our best that this minimart project entrusted to us by SAAD will not be wasted by taking good care of this rare opportunity. We will even make it prosper with the use of our remaining resources–the sows, piglets, and existing funds.
SIFA, Over the years
SIFA, which started in 2003, is a Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) registered association based in Brgy. San Isidro, Liloan. It was selected as one of the four recipients of the FY 2020 Swine Production Project worth Php 633,131.
In August 2021, the group received various interventions from SAAD such as breeder gilts. To prepare them for the program, members attended capability-building activities and swine production training prior to receiving the project.
Table 1. Interventions received by FA from SAAD in 2021
As the typhoon battered Southern Leyte in 2021, SIFA’s swine housing was not spared and was destroyed; consequently, only 8 sows survived the aftermath. Before the typhoon hit, the swine production project operated smoothly, and SIFA was able to open a time deposit and savings account at Cebu People’s Coop in Liloan. As of the end of January 2022, the association has a total savings of Php 121,882.00 with Php 16,882.00 as cash on hand, Php 65,000 cash on bank, and Php 40,000.00 as time deposit. At present, the group still has 40 piglets for weaning.
Though Typhoon Odette caused catastrophic damages to infrastructures and the agriculture sector in the region, it likewise taught a lesson of strength and resiliency. SIFA was able to show that falling several times is inevitable, but what matters is how well one rises and moves forward after the fall. ###
Writer: Jocelyn A. Cabaňas, Provincial Coordinator, PPMSO–Southern Leyte