Having a vast land area with soils and climate highly suited to agricultural activities, Bukidnon’s economy is generally agriculture-based, fueled by livestock, and highland crops such as corn, rice, sugarcane, pineapple, banana, and high-value vegetables (carrots, potato, cabbage, among others). To help plow their fields during land preparation, hauling of harvests, and transport products from farm to market, the farmers raised cattle and other draft animals for multiple farming purposes.
Livestock rearing offers two major benefits, as draft animals and for meat and milk production.
During a monitoring activity in March, two farmer’s associations (FAs) from Talakag and Kibawe, Bukidnon were able to raise start-up capital to support their corn farming, procured a bull for calf drop (breeding service), and distributed cattle offspring to the next project grantees (considered as new members of the FA). This substantial result is under the corn and cattle production projects of the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program.
HPTI and NKSFA’s admission to SAAD
Composed of 25 corn farmers for each FAs, the New Kidapawan SAAD Farmers Association (NKSFA) and Higaonon Pig-oyunan Tribal Association Incorporated (HPTI) were organized prior to selection as beneficiaries of the DA-SAAD Program in 2018. Nestled in barangay New Kidapawan, Bukidnon, and Barangay Basak, Talakag, the two groups became recipients of the Integrated Livelihood Project.
The project worth Php 2,876,419.50 included cattle, hybrid corn seeds, cacao seedlings, fertilizers, pinakbet seeds, plastic drums, garden tools, and drugs and biologics.
In 2018, a total corn production area of 56 hectares (ha) was planted, each member with 0.25-1.0ha. The farmer selected the right corn hybrid that matures within corn planting dates (January, July, April, and May) and climatic conditions.
In 2019, each member also took care of the 50 heifers (1-2 years old) provided by the program for production. They ensure regular water sources for the animals even when temperatures plummet below normal, keep them well-fed, provide proper shelter during cold weather, assist pregnant ones, and keep them comfortable in a clean and safe environment.
Results in SAAD project implementation
Corn planting includes land preparation, plowing and harrowing, furrowing, and burying 1-2 seeds per hill, 25 centimeters (cm) apart in the row, and 3-5cm deep. The members ensure that the soil is irrigated or rainfed prior to planting for uniformity and promotion of corn silks ready for pollination. When available, they use mechanical planters for a more accurate and consistent depth of planting and consequent germination.
To minimize pest and disease problems, they plant at almost the same period as other farmers do nearby.
The harvest season began after three to four months, where 80% of the produce was apportioned for family consumption, and 20% was sold. From the sales, a pledged (usually Php 500) per cropping income (twice a year) is contributed to the association as seed funds.
The associations started to provide loan services at 5% per month for members, and 10% for non-members, wherein the income serves as a revolving capital to help the members buy support farm inputs, specifically corn seeds for 2019 and 2021 production.
Included in the project package were drugs and biologics for the cattle, provided on a staggered basis (per year) to keep animals in good shape, ensuring access to medicine such as vitamins, spray animals to control external parasites such as ticks, lice, and flies that can be administered to them immediately.
Farmers feed the cattle with concentrate at least 1-2 kilograms per day during the fattening period, give roughage daily at 3% of its body weight if given air dry or 14% if fresh, provide clean water without limit or ad libitum, and ordinary table salt about 30-50 grams.
After a year the NKSFA’s heifers are now prepared for reproduction. With that and from the group’s remittance and earnings, they were able to procure one upgraded bull for breeding worth Php 21,000 in 2020.
With the group’s commitment and dedication, they already distributed 19 cattle offspring to new members of the association out of the 25 heifers initially provided by the program in 2019. From 25, NKSFA has now 44 total members.
FAs also sourced out added earnings by offering the bull for calf drop at Php 1,000 for non-members and Php 500 for members.
The group already turned over 12 cattle offspring to the next-in-line beneficiaries. Also, five of its cattle gave birth last June and one is pregnant – expected to drop a young in September. From its 25 original members, HPTI now has 69 active members involved in cattle and corn production.
Problems encountered and solutions made
Aside from typhoons, strong winds, and unfavorable weather conditions which are the usual problems in corn farming, the group members could not afford to buy fertilizers for their plants due to the high price in the market.
To increase corn yield potential, the members borrowed money from the association’s fund with lesser interest to buy fertilizers which are payable after their harvest.
Increase productivity through farm consolidation
To strategically respond to unfavorable market situations, the group is planning to adopt farm consolidation. The two groups plan to start a buy and sell business – by buying corn produce from farmers in their area and reselling the same or milled products through community retail. This way, to-and-fro fares will also be saved by the producer.
The groups also offer corn mill servicing in their community at Php 2/kg.
As for HPTI’s cattle production, continues breeding and multiplying their stocks is the way forward in the beef industry. In addition, part of their future business development is to establish a restaurant serving hot, meaty, and savory bowl of bulalo. ###
Writer: Jennifer Valcobero, DA-SAAD NPMO Public Relations and Comms Officer
Sources: DA-SAAD 10. Sanshynne Maglangit and Catherine Docor, SAAD-Bukidnon Area Coordinators
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