OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, May 23, 2022 – Three (3) IP associations from the far-flung areas in the municipalities of Paluan and Sta. Cruz were assessed by the SAAD National Program Management Office (NPMO) staff assisted by the Regional and Provincial staff to check on their overall situation including the status of production, harvest, organizational management, and market links.
This was through the Results-based Monitoring and Evaluation Rapid Appraisal (RBMERA) conducted by the NPMO whose purpose is to assess SAAD implementation and recommend solutions to issues and concerns.
Sitio Tilago, Brgy. Kurtinganan, home of the Iraya-Mangyan farmers of Iraya’s Gilingan Farmers Association (IGFA) and Mang-Go Rice Planters Farmers Association (MRPFA) is located 15 to 20 minutes away from the town proper of Sta. Cruz. The sitio locals are dependent on traditional upland rice farming.
To boost the IP farmers’ rice production, SAAD awarded Php 870,000.00 worth of Rice Production Project to the IP farmers of MRPFA in 2019 which includes 100 bags of certified seeds, five (5) units of pump and engine, one (1) unit of hand tractor, five (5) head of caraheifer with farm implements and 125sqm machinery shed.
Mr. Ian Von A. Yadao, SAAD Area Coordinator shared the program’s impact to the lives of the IP beneficiaries with the SAAD National Staff, “Dati wala silang mga gamit pansaka, pero noong nabigyan sila ng SAAD ng mga makina at kalabaw, hindi na nila kailangang magbayad para sa land preparation. Nakatipid na rin sila dahil nabigyan sila ng libreng binhi at organic fertilizer. Masaya sila dahil nakatulong ang SAAD para magkaroon sila ng sapat na makakain at hindi na tulad noon na kailangan pa nila mangutang para lang makapagtanim at makakain.”
(In the past, they did not have farm tools, but when SAAD provided farm tools and caraheifers, they did not have to pay for land preparation anymore. They are also able to save money because of the free seeds and organic fertilizer. The farmers are happy because SAAD helped them have enough food without borrowing money to provide for their needs.)
One of the concerns raised during the discussion is the guidelines for the communal use of shared farming tools and maintenance and troubleshooting of equipment. If not properly maintained, the equipment’s durability will be affected.
Ms. Marie Abigail de la Cruz, SAAD NPMO Focal, suggested conducting training on troubleshooting farm machinery. Moreover, a draft schedule for the use of these tools and equipment will be created to give equal chances to each member in using the equipment.
Situated in an End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) area in Brgy. Harrison, the cassava farmers of Sitio Hinugasan Cassava Planters Association (SHCPA) earned Php 160,276.00 in their previous harvest from selling 18,856kg of dried and chipped cassava.
The group’s total area reaches up to 100ha. However, the farmers can only utilize a fifth of the area (20ha) because their resources are not enough to till the whole land. This is also the main reason why farmers are only able to plant once a year which limits their production and income.
To boost the farmers’ production, Ms. de la Cruz encouraged the group to increase their planting frequency up to four or more times annually for continuous income and fund additional resources they need to maximize their area. This way, they can secure more earnings by increasing their harvests threefold.
Mr. Reyes expressed his gratitude to SAAD staff during the assessment, “Kung ako po ay tatanungin, talagang nakatulong ang SAAD sa amin sa dami ng [tulong na] ibinigay sa amin. Kung kami, hindi namin kayang bumili nung mga ibinigay sa amin. Nagpapasalamat kami kasi kahit na malayo kami, naabot kami ng SAAD.”
(If I were to be asked, SAAD helped us by providing multiple assistance. We cannot afford those inputs. We are grateful because SAAD reached out to us even though we live in outlying parts [of Paluan].)
A third of SAAD beneficiaries in Occidental Mindoro consist of IP beneficiaries. Livelihood projects are provided to Mangyan farmers to boost their food production as most of them are located in far-flung areas with cases of armed conflict which limits their access to necessities such as market and education.
“Marami po ang nagsasabi sa amin na tutulungan kami, pero wala namang dumating na tulong. Kaya nagpapasalamat din kami sa LGU dahil sila ang nagsabi sa amin at naging tulay para marating kami ng SAAD,” shared Mr. Reyes.
(Many had promised us that they would help us, but nothing arrived. That is why we are grateful to the LGU because they linked us to SAAD.)
The SAAD NPMO Focal said that SAAD serves as a bridge between the beneficiaries to the different government aids, through its Area Coordinators and LGUs, which offer livelihood assistance after the program ends. This is made possible through assessments and establishing linkages to units, such as the DA’s banner programs, provided that the associations meet the requirements to receive assistance.
Meanwhile, SAAD continues to assist the farmers in establishing market linkages and empowers them through training and continuous monitoring with the LGUs. ###
Writer: Dianne Francis A. Sy, SAAD Information Officer I
Sources: Ian Von A. Yadao, SAAD Area Coordinator – Sta. Cruz,
Jhonzell G. Panganiban, SAAD Area Coordinator – Paluan