EASTERN SAMAR, April 13, 2022 – Three (3) Farmers’ Associations (FAs) located in barangays identified as End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) areas received cassava production inputs from the Department of Agriculture- Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA- SAAD) Program to provide local labor opportunities and boost farmers’ income in the province despite community unrest.
A total of 91 beneficiaries namely, the Tangbo Coconut Farmers Association in Maslog (30 members), Upstream Integrated Livelihood Association in Dolores (36 members), and the Balagon Upland Farmers Association in Can Avid (25 members) received the FY 2021 Cassava Production Project worth Php 882,000.
Coconut/copra, vegetable and root crops, and upland rice farming are the main sources of income in the locality. The associations were recommended to the program through the coordination of the local government units (LGUs) and municipal agricultural offices of Maslog, Dolores, and Can Avid in 2020.
In October of the same year, SAAD Eastern Samar conducted an agricultural needs assessment including profiling and geo-tagging of the FAs and target communal areas to determine the livelihood project that would best fit the farmers’ capabilities. As a result, the FAs were selected for the Cassava Production and Marketing Project.
Each association received Php 294,000 worth of livelihood intervention for the project (Table 1) in April 2021. As a counterpart, the groups identified and established communal areas where all the operations of the FAs took place with an estimated combined area/individual area of 3.5 hectares (ha).
Table 1. Cassava Production Project components
According to Tangbo Coconut Farmers Association president, Mr. Eutiquio D. Alagabia, the SAAD Program is the first state-initiated program that reached their community and they have never been a recipient of any projects from other government agencies.
“Yana pala kami hine tagi hin proyekto tikang ha gobyerno bilang usa nga assosasyon, asya nga dako gud iton amon pasasalamat ha DA-SAAD Program nga kami ira nakita ug napansin, bisan kun iton amon barangay aadi hiton kairayahan hiton bungot hit Maslog.,” Mr. Alagabia shared.
(It is our first time to receive a project from the government as an association, so we are very grateful to the DA-SAAD Program that we are chosen as beneficiary even though our barangay is very far from Maslog.)
To acquire skills required in managing an enterprise and add on to their knowledge in cassava farming, SAAD Region 8 also provided several trainings on leadership, values formation, financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills, as well as technical trainings on Cassava Production/Farming to the three FAs from August to October 2021.
Tangbo Coconut Farmers Association and Upstream Integrated Livelihood Association made their first harvest last February 2022, eight (8) months after cultivation. They harvested a total of 8.399 tons (T) of cassava and marketed their crops in their community and local markets for Php 11 to Php 13 per kilo while the rest was divided for the member’s personal consumption.
However, the Balagon Upland Farmers Association harvested their cassava earlier than the supposed harvest date because their communal area was affected by a flood brought by Typhoon Odette in December 2021. They are left with 2.5T harvest including the rejects.
Table 2. FAs Production Data and Net Income
Tangbo Coconut Farmers Association and Upstream Integrated Livelihood Association are already preparing to plant cassava in a wider area to gain higher production and income for the upcoming planting season. The Balagon Upland Farmers Associations will continue to plant cassava in their new communal area using the cassava cuttings/stems from the previous cropping.
The FAs extend their gratitude to the SAAD Program and to everyone behind the project as they hope that success will continue for them to have a better life. ###
Writer: Evan Jess M. Villanueva, Provincial Coordination-Eastern Samar