MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL, March 14, 2022 – Adept in strawberry farming, Director Myer Mula of the Department of Agriculture-Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program met with Northern Mindanao’s breakthrough strawberry growers on March 7, 2022.
Dir. Mula personally imparted his expertise in strawberry production to Nueva Vista Strawberry Growers Association (NVSGA) in Don Victoriano Chiongbian, Misamis Occidental.
The group with 50 members started to grow strawberries in their 1.25 hectares (ha) consolidated farm area, which provided them an average of Php 3,000 individual weekly income. Along with berries, they planted cabbage to a 3.75ha production area, providing them Php 100,000 income per cropping (annual).
This 2022, they were selected as recipients of SAAD’s Strawberry Production which includes strawberry seedlings, knapsack sprayer, plastic mulch, shovel, seedling tray, garden net, plastic drum, sprinkler, and polyethylene (PE) bags, and strawberry production training. All interventions amounted to Php 771,000.
With this, the group decided to add 2ha of production area for strawberry farming.
Prior to their selection as beneficiaries, the group was trained on Strawberry Production and Management Training to back the project with relevant knowledge and skills of the farmers.
During the activity, Dir. Mula emphasized the need to employ appropriate strawberry farming technologies for optimal production rates.
He particularly underscored the importance of the proper selection of strawberry varieties, planting stock preparation, soil management, planting season, and runner production.
He also handed the strawberry farmers a Manual on Strawberry Production and Management Practices he authored and published by SAAD as a basic guide for the farmers to top up their production.
“When I heard of your project, I decided that I have to come here to personally meet you and discuss with you how to further improve your project,” Dir. Mula said.
With its unspoiled land, the town situated in the highlands with conducive climatic conditions suited to strawberry farming, Dir. Mula urged the strawberry farmers to sustain and improve the projects granted to them and also pass on their knowledge to their children as their future livelihood.
With the anticipated Phase 2 implementation of the program, Dir. Mula vowed to continuously provide assistance to the region’s strawberry farmers.
“SAAD is different from other regular programs of the Department of Agriculture. With SAAD, we can and we will provide you the assistance you need until such time your association will be an independent enterprising association,” Mula stressed.
Mr. Marcelo Samson, president of (NVSGA) expressed his optimism with the assistance provided by the program.
He said that with the SAAD projects, members of their association found added means of livelihood aside from planting upland vegetables, which proves very helpful, especially amid the CoViD-19 pandemic.
Ms. Ma. Sonia Calleja, the Regional Officer of the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority 10 (FPA-10), joined the meeting to discuss relevant updates on fertilizers’ price hikes, and the supply and demand situation.
She also discussed the Balanced Fertilizer Strategy (BFS) Program of the FPA which came about as an instruction from DA Secretary William Dar to mitigate the rising cost of fertilizer, land degradation, and decline in soil fertility through adjustments in the cropping and management systems.
The FPA-10 agreed to help the strawberry farmers by conducting future training on balanced soil fertilization to further develop their farming practices. ###
Writer: Azbie Talib, DA-10 Information Officer I