OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, April 21, 2022 – The Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program conducted pilot Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation Rapid Appraisal (RBMERA) for selected SAAD associations in Occidental Mindoro to assess their overall situation including their status in production, harvest, organizational management, and market links on April 6-7, 2022 as part of the transition period for the program’s conclusion this year.
With the community restrictions delaying the implementation of said evaluation led by the DA-SAAD National Program and Management Office (NPMO), and with the support of the Regional and Provincial arms, this year, two (2) out of five (5) associations identified for RBMERA have been visited in Magsaysay.
Calawag Mushroom Association
The Calawag Mushroom Association (CMA) received the Mushroom Production Project in 2021 which included a 20 square meter (sqm)-concrete fruiting house and mushroom production materials, enough to produce 1000 fruiting bags.
Staff from DA-SAAD NPMO spearheaded the activity where two (2) out of five (5) associations underwent assessment fitting to the RBMERA criteria – with downloaded project funds and established community-based enterprises – are located in the Municipality of Magsaysay.
Mr. Alfredo Magluyan, Chairperson of the CMA, represented the association during the assessment where he expressed the need for additional equipment for inoculation and cooling to help in the preservation of their products as their spores get contaminated due to lack of proper tools.
In addition, technical training on bookkeeping, organizational management, and refresher on mushroom production are seen to be useful in preparing the members while waiting for the delivery of the additional equipment.
“Nagpapasalamat kami dahil nagkaroon ng SAAD dito sa amin. Kapag nagsimula na ang malakihang produksyon namin ng kabute, magkakaroon na rin kami ng extra income gaya nung ibang [SAAD] samahan na kumikita na rin,” shared Mr. Magluyan.
(We are grateful that we were reached by SAAD. When we are able to start our [mushroom] production in large volumes, we will have extra income like the other [SAAD] associations who are already earning.)
Currently, the group has produced 200 fruiting bags ready for transplant. The association innovated a manual pressing machine for faster and more effective production of fruiting bags.
The possibility of linking the group to the Community-Based Mushroom Production Program, a project funded under the DA Rice Banner Program, was also mentioned during the activity to ensure sustainability of livelihood for the mushroom growers.
Calawag Service Provider Farmers Association
The Calawag Service Provider Farmers Association (CSPFA) is one of the established SAAD enterprises in the province. The group provides farm services using three (3) units of hand tractors awarded to them under the Equipment and Postharvest Facility Project in 2020. To protect the machines from rain and external elements, the project provided a 200sqm machinery shed located in Brgy. Calawag, Magsaysay.
Mr. Jubel Valdezamo, Chairperson of CSPFA shared with SAAD National Staff how the group apportions the rent for their farm services, “Hinahati namin sa tatlo ang rentang ibinabayad sa amin na Php 3,000.00 sa pagha-hand tractor: Php 1,000.00 para sa operator, Php 1,000.00 para sa maintenance ng mga makina, at Php 1,000.00 ang napupunta sa pondo ng asosasyon.”
(We divide the Php 3,000.00 rental fee for our hand tractor services into three: Php 1,000.00 for the operator, Php 1,000.00 for the machine’s maintenance, and Php 1,000.00 goes to the association’s fund.)
From their association funds, the group was able to buy a welding machine which is used for the maintenance of their hand tractor. They also offer welding services for other farmers and clients in their community when needed. Also, CSPFA provides monetary loans to its members with 3% interest while non-members can loan at a higher interest rate of 5%. At present, the group’s earning is listed at Php 15,000 derived from the various farm services that they offer.
Furthermore, a demonstration on troubleshooting for farm machinery was suggested to build on their skills previously acquired from other training sessions led by DA-PhilMech. The Local Government Unit (LGU) of Magasaysay, who initiated the past training, will look into opportunities for future training.
“Malaki ang pasasalamat namin sa SAAD dahil kung wala ang SAAD, wala kaming hanapbuhay lalo kapag tag-ulan,” shared Mr. Valdezamo.
(We are grateful for SAAD because if not for it, we will not have a livelihood especially during the rainy season.)
Ms. Marie Abigail de la Cruz, SAAD NPMO Focal commended the Chairperson’s effort in leading the association and taking initiative in the group’s operations, “Maraming salamat sa ipinapakita niyong initiative sa inyong mga miyembro, mula sa pagresolba sa mga problema [sa samahan] hanggang sa pangangalaga ng proyektong ipinagkaloob sa inyo ng SAAD. Malaking bagay ito sa amin na mga taga National [office] na makita ang magandang bunga ng SAAD sa inyo.”
(Thank you for expressing initiative for the group, from solving conflicts [within the group] to taking proper care of projects given to you by SAAD. This is important for us from the National [office] to see the good results of SAAD in your lives.)
The SAAD NPMO Focal said that the program bridges the beneficiaries through its Area Coordinators to the LGUs ushering them through assessments and possible linkages to other state and DA banner programs.
Meanwhile, SAAD continues to enhance farmers’ capacity through training and supplemental projects to its beneficiaries in its final leg. ###
Writer: Dianne Francis A. Sy, SAAD Information Officer I
Sources: Luther Lariosa Jr, SAAD Project Development Officer I,
Vilmar J. Robes, SAAD Area Coordinator – Magsaysay.