ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, August 25, 2022 – Subanen indigenous people (IP) and beneficiaries of the Department of Agriculture- Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA- SAAD) Program received support to increase corn production in Mutia, Zamboanga del Norte.
The Alvenda Farmers Association with 44 Subanen IP members, and natives of Mutia, Zamboanga del Norte received the FY 2022 Corn Production Project worth Php 162,500 on August 11, 2022 (Table 1). The farmers are engaged in corn farming cultivating individual areas. Previously, the FA already received agricultural inputs which include 39 bags of corn seeds, 39 bags of urea fertilizer, and 35 bags of complete fertilizer worth Php 120,688 under the FY 2021 Corn Production Project.
Table 1. Interventions received by Alvenda FA
With the recent conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the global market has been greatly affected by the sudden price increase on primary farming inputs such as feeds and fuel, among others. The unrest resulted in a global shortage of fertilizer supply, altering expected harvests of many farming countries. To aid in the current situation, considering the social profile of SAAD’s target beneficiaries, these free inputs for corn production are aimed at capacitating IP corn producers to pursue their farming activities.
According to SAAD Provincial Coordinator Roger Dave Gramatica, corn farming remains to be the main source of livelihood of the IP community in Mutia. Situated in a hilly and mountainous landscape, corn is the most suitable crop in the area and is considered a staple crop in the locality.
“The Alvenda Farmers association has 44 IP members and some of them also cultivate vegetables, bananas, and abaca. The additional assistance for the FA including 50 bags of corn seeds at 20 kilograms (kg) per bag can accommodate the accumulated 50 hectares (ha) of their total corn area,” explained Gramatica.
During the distribution of the interventions, Alvenda Barangay Captain Manuel Magting shared the struggles of farmers due to the rapid changes in the climate in their area.
“We have not planted corn this entire year because of the constant rain. The corn seeds on the ground just spoil every time we plant. So, we decided to plant vegetables instead so we can have food to eat. It hasn’t rained for two days now, we hope that this kind of weather will continue so that we can start planting these corn seeds given by SAAD,” said the barangay chief.
Prior to the delivery of intervention, SAAD provided technical training to the FA on Corn Production facilitated by its Area Coordinator Nurhainar Salim in coordination with Mutia Local Government Unit (LGU) on May 24-25, 2022. This training equipped the beneficiaries with proper corn production management, along with usage, and application of organic fertilizers.
In a short testimony, Romeo Montipon, the Alvenda FA President said that it has been two years since SAAD gave the first intervention of corn seeds and fertilizers. The same project under FY 2021 worth Php 120,688 was provided to the FA last year, giving them the opportunity to gain profit from farming.
During their second cropping in 2021, the farmers gathered 16,464 kilograms of cumulative harvest. Some of them sold their produce while others opted to save it for their consumption. The farmers’ estimated total earnings from the sold produce amount to Php 20,000.
Before SAAD, corn yields of the beneficiaries were just enough for their consumption due to the price of inputs needed to maintain corn farms. But after receiving support from the program, the corn farmers produced beyond their consumption and were able to venture into business, selling and earning from their corn harvest.
“Last year, despite the weather damaging our crops, I was able to harvest 800 kilograms of corn in my 1 hectare (ha) land. I sold them and earned an estimate of Php 10,000, and saved some for home consumption. I am very thankful to SAAD for providing a vital contribution to us farmers, and for me personally to earn added income,” said Mr. Montipon.
The farmers in Alvenda remain hopeful for a fruitful harvest this coming December while the DA-SAAD in Zamboanga del Norte continues its commitment to constant monitoring to ensure the sustainability of the SAAD projects in the province. ###
Writer: Aimee Lou D. Madjus, DA-SAAD Zamboanga del Norte Information Officer