SORSOGON, July 14, 2022 – To introduce proper food handling and processing, 150 farmers from 23 farmers’ associations (FA) in Sorsogon participated in the High Value Crops (HVC) Enterprise Production training conducted by the Department of Agriculture-Special Area for Agricultural Development Program (DA-SAAD) last May 11 to June 30, 2022.
SAAD in its commitment to empower farmers not just through livelihood provisions, but to continuously develop their farming skills through extension services, conducted localized training to HVC production beneficiaries. Representatives from the 23 FAs came from the municipalities of Magdalena, Pilar, Donsol, Matnog, Juban, and Magallanes. Full capacity is currently not possible as adherence to COVID-19 protocols are still being observed. Each participant is selected to re-echo the knowledge they gained from the training.
In line with this, eight (8) out of 23 farmers’ associations from Sta Magdalena, Matnog, Magallanes and Juban were newly-formed and received the same training where some of them do rice, vegetable and coconut farming as their primary sources of income before joining SAAD Program.
Most of the farmers’ associations, including the new group, have their communal area ranging from 200 square meters (sqm) to 1 hectare (ha) as their start-up.
Table 1: Farmers’ Association participants in HVC Enterprise Production Training
The training sessions were spearheaded by SAAD Regional Program Management Support Office (RPMSO) staff Engineer Angineth Salcedo and SAAD Researchers Honey Leah Cantoria and Jenny Delmiguez, and facilitated by the Provincial Program Management Support Office (PPMSO) Sorsogon led by SAAD Provincial Coordinator Mary Rose Detera.
RPMSO Researchers Honey Cantoria and Jenny Delmiguez discussed the topic about Basic Food Hygiene and Enterprise Development, Product Labelling, and Costing and Food Processing assisted by HVC Technical Staff Engr. Angineth Salcedo.
Additionally, the training introduced establishing a business enterprise to farmers. The farmers were taught on how to make vegetable value-added products such as veggie pastillas, veggie gummies, squash noodles, kalabasa halaya, ginger tea, kangkong fritters, and pickled sitao which will be their start-up enterprise this year.
During the cooking demonstration, Engr. Salcedo said, “You need to learn about proper food handling and processing in order for you to process food in compliance with food safety and which you may use for enterprise development that will serve as your additional income.”
One of the training participants, Vanessa Malto, President of Binalyuhan Vegetable Farmers’ Association in Magallanes, expressed her gratitude for the program. “Nagpapasalamat po ang aming asosasyon sa SAAD Program dahil marami po ang aming natutunan. Mas nagkaroon kami ng ideya kung ano ang tamang pagproseso ng iba’t-ibang recipe na gawa sa gulay. Makatutulong po ang mga aral na ito sa pagpapaunlad ng aming grupo kapag kami ay nakapag simula nang mag luto ng mga itinuro sa amin” (Our association is thankful to the SAAD Program because we have learned a lot. We had a better idea of how to process different varieties of vegetable recipes properly. These lessons will help the development of our group when we are able to start cooking what has been taught to us), said Ms. Malto.
Training kits such as tote bags, advocacy shirts, notebooks, ballpen, alcohol, apron, hairnet, facemasks, and boots were also given to the farmers before the activity started.
The partial delivery of inputs to the farmers’ association was started in the 1st and 2nd quarter of the year. They distributed vegetable/fruit seeds, garden tools, crates, complete fertilizer, plastic trays, weighing scales, rootcrop tubers, and ginger seedpieces.
This August, the SAAD Program will be distributing additional inputs such as brush cutter, drums, impulse sealer, and various stainless kitchenware to support enterprise establishment and complete the package worth Php 195,690 per group for FY 2022. In the same month, Poctol Backyard Farmers’ Association and Samahang Pangkabuhayan at Pangkaunlaran ng Calpi will receive a package worth Php 1,629,290 each which includes the above-mentioned interventions with additional inputs needed for enterprise development such as, power tiller with supplements, solar power irrigation system (SPIS), suction hose pipes, storage containers and packaging materials, herb and spice grinders, heat guns, food dehydrator machines, heavycast aluminum pressure, stand mixer, steel preparation table, vegetable shredder machine, heavy duty/industrial gas stove with 50kg LPG tank.
Meanwhile, since the country is transitioning to the wet season, farmers are aiming to grow and strengthen their production of various vegetables such as pechay, upo, ampalaya, okra, talong, and kalabasa. Once they are able to stabilize operations and gain consistent harvest, the newly-formed FAs plan to venture into business enterprise this year. ###
Writer: Pauline Trixia D. Borja, DA-SAAD Sorsogon Information Officer
Engr. Angineth Salcedo, DA-SAAD Technical Staff
Mary Rose Detera, DA- SAAD Sorsogon Provincial Coordinator
Ma. Ligaya Renegado, DA-SAAD Juban Area Coordinator
Allen Jao, DA-SAAD Magallanes Area Coordinator
Arnel Venus, DA-SAAD Matnog Area Coordinator
Aizel Grefalda, DA-SAAD Sta. Magdalena Area Coordinator
Mark Joven Barja, DA-SAAD Donsol Area Coordinator
Jonas Guañizo, DA-SAAD Pilar Area Coordinator
Photos: DA-SAAD Sorsogon