APAYAO, March 11, 2022 – Fifty-three (53) indigenous Kankanaey farmers from the Narang-ay Farmers Association (NFA) in Barangay EKB, Kabugao, Apayao generated Php 145,473 worth of revenue from the Rice Production Project of the Department of Agriculture-Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program from 2018-2021.
NFA, a group of farmers who are engaged in rice farming and labor service activities, is registered as a farmers’ cooperative and association (FCA) for the marginalized rural locals in 2017 at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The members of the group earn an average monthly income of Php 4,666 for every hectare of upland rice production area. However, according to Maribel Baguista, NFA’s Vice President, this income decreased because of a lack of postharvest facilities that are useful in fast-tracking the operations of the group.
“Iti rigat gamin iti upland rice, mano-mano kami, iti problema iti manual labor ket nabayag iti pinag-harvest mi,ingga mapardin tut ay pagay min,” (The difficulty in upland rice production is that we do it manually which causes a longer harvesting process until our crops are ruined) said Ms. Baguista.
SAAD helps modernize conventional ways of farming
In 2017, SAAD field implementers conducted community consultation to identify possible support that can be provided to increase the income of the members. Further, in 2018, the program has provided the group with one (1) unit of multi-purpose thresher, farm equipment that mechanizes the removal of seeds from stalks and husks, worth Php 170,000 (FY 2017) to aid in expediting the operations of the group.
According to Shermyn Pecban, SAAD Project Development Officer, the group’s main income comes from clients that are involved in rice production, but most of them experienced rice quality deterioration because of the impact of the group’s slow postharvest production. That is why the provided machinery helps ease the operations and the services provided by the group.
Ms. Baguista further attests that the thresher was a blessing for the association since the group’s livelihood is heavily dependent on their clients’ harvest.
“Etuy agriculture talaga iti pagal alan mi income ta haan kami met nga college graduate. Pasaray ket nu haan ka nakalpas met ket talaga nga iti opurtunidad mo lang dituy probinsya ket ada iti farm, construction work, wenu saan agtagi-balay ka,” said Ms. Baguista.
(We are highly dependent on agriculture because most of us were not able to finish our college education. Here in our province, if you’re not a college graduate, you can only work either as a farm laborer, construction worker, or simply domestic helper.)
Becoming a service provider
Through the SAAD project, the group was able to provide support to clients in producing a sufficient supply of food for their households and their communities. Furthermore, the capacity of the group in engaging farming into business was also enhanced, enabling them to generate Php 28 per sack. With the provision of machinery, the group was able to provide better service to their clients.
From 2018 to 2021, the group’s total earning was Php 145,473. During the dry season of the said period, the group was able to earn Php 70,584. After deducting costs for labor and maintenance which amounts to Php 16,170.00, the net income of the group was Php 54,414.
Meanwhile, during the wet season, the group was able to earn Php 74,889 from 2018 to 2020 but after deducting the labor and maintenance worth Php 19,304.00, which includes the purchase of oil, fuel, and machinery parts, the groups’ net income became Php 55,585.
In four cropping seasons, the group spent Php 35,474.00 for labor and maintenance costs which allowed them to have a net income of Php 109,999.00 (Table 1).
As an association, NFA was able to form a policy in monitoring their total gross income, expenses, and net income.
The members of the group agreed that 20% of their gross income will be allocated for operation and maintenance costs, while 30% is for labor costs; and the remaining 50% is their association’s savings.
Problems Encountered and Solutions Made
According to Ms. Baguista, the group experienced a decline in clients during the past operations because of the absence of trucks that can be used for hauling. This results in clients declining the group’s services because they have no vehicle for transferring the machine to the clients’ farm sites.
“Pasaray mas kayat met ti taon iti complete package nu agpa –service da ijay production site da. Haan mi kabaelan nga iguyud tay thresher nga mapan ijay bantay. Isu nga iti remedyo mi lang ket makisarita nga nu kayat tay client ket isuda ag provide iti truck habang dakami lang iti ag provide iti thresher nga apan mangi-ubra. Gapo kadetuy nga arrangement mi ket mas kayat iti tao nga agbiruk latan iti sabali nga service provider,” said Ms. Baguista.
(Clients usually prefer complete services and we can’t take the machinery up to the production area since we don’t have a truck for hauling. What we do is negotiate if the client is willing to provide truck services while we only offer thresher services. Because of the absence of trucks, the clients prefer to look for another service provider.)
As a solution, the group starts preparing and contacting possible clients before the start of the crop season to help them identify clients and prepare necessary equipment in advance.
Aside from purchasing trucks for hauling purposes, NFA also intends to have at least 60 hectares of rice area to gain more profit from their operations and services.
“Napintas nga opurtunidad kada kami nga naikkan iti machinery ta nu idi mapan kami lang makisikka ngem tattan wenu awan igatang mi ti mula mi, agubra kami meten nga akas service provider. Nanayunan iti mabalin mi pagalan iti income,” shared Ms. Baguista.
(It was a good opportunity that we were given the machinery. Before, we only worked on the farms for other landowners, but now, even though we are unable to buy seeds to plant, we can work on the farm using the machine as service providers, this gives us a chance to earn additional income.)
Writer: Kathleen Faye B. Agonoy, Information Officer I, SAAD Apayao