OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, August 15, 2022 – One hundred and fifty (150) farmers and beneficiaries belonging to the indigenous Mangyan community from Sablayan were capacitated on root crops production in a training conducted by The Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program to prepare community members before the delivery of Root Crops Production Project.
The training conducted on on July 14-15, and 26-27, 2022 accommodated 150 farmers, where the first 100 participants came from four SAAD established farmers’ associations (FA) with 25 representatives per FA namely: Calamansian IP Livelihood Association (CILA), Samahang Magsasaka sa Matongtong (SAMASAMA), Pagkakaisa ng Pusog para sa Pag-unlad Association (PPPA), and Balani Agriculture Infrastructure Improvement Strengthening Association (BANISA).
Resource persons who led the training were Mr. Reynante Dumale and Mr. Joel Ordones, Agriculturists from the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist (OMA). They introduced different kinds and characteristics of root crops such as purple yam (ube), ginger (luya), taro (gabi), and sweet potato (kamoteng baging).
Further, the remaining 50 IP farmers, who are non-SAAD beneficiaries were also invited to attend the training to capacitate as many farmers as possible in the community. The additional participants are also considered to be potential beneficiaries of the project through SAAD associations as they also produce root crops such as ube and sweet potato.
Proper cultural production practices and organic pest control were introduced to the farmers. Making and using organic pesticides were taught in addition to the effective placing of traps for rodents, and proper usage of pests control. The farmers were also advised to maintain a clean farm area to keep the pests at bay.
On the other hand, Mr. Rustom Gonzales, Agriculturist II of the DA-Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service Division (AMAD) Region Office will link the farmers to private companies in the locality to help them in marketing.
“Malaki ang [market] potential ng ube sa Occidental Mindoro, at may demand din. Kailangan lang nating i-organize ang [mga] grupo, palakasin, at turuan na maging agriprenyurs” (Purple yam has a high market potential in Occidental Mindoro, and there is a steady demand. We just need to organize groups, strengthen, and teach [the farmers] to become agripreneurs), shared Mr. Gonzales.
Root crops are mostly utilized by farmers for family food consumption. With DA-AMAD’s assistance on the marketing side, members are encouraged to pursue root crops production on a large scale for the market. “Ihahanda namin ang lupa naming pagtataniman. Lalo ngayon na nalaman namin na may naghahanap palang malaking buyer ng tanim namin” (We will prepare our lands for planting [root crops], especially now that we learned that there are bulk buyers who are interested in buying our produce,) members from BANISA said.
The four (4) associations have an estimated cumulative area of 50 hectares dedicated to root crops production along with other main crops such as rice and corn. Preparations are underway for the turnover of root crops planting materials such as ginger, ube (purple yam), gabi (taro), and sweet potato to the associations targeted to be awarded this year under the Root Crops Production project FY 2022 amounting to Php 1,150,000.00.
SAAD ensures the preparedness of its beneficiaries by providing specialized training and social preparation activities in collaboration with the local government units. This is to assist the farmers in the successful management of livelihood interventions that will be awarded to them. The program prioritizes well-rounded support to the beneficiaries to encourage sustainable management of livelihood programs. With capacity building as one major component, the farmers targeted to be equipped with relevant knowledge to transform the free inputs from consumption to enterprise opportunities. ###
Writer: Dianne Francis A. Sy-Gorembalem, DA-SAAD MIMAROPA Information Officer
Oliver B. Cosme, SAAD Area Coordinator – Sablayan,
Luther Lariosa Jr., SAAD MIMAROPA PDO I