OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, November 29, 2022 – Indigenous Ratagnon-Mangyan farmers recorded a cumulative harvest of 28 metric tons (MT) yellow corn, while offering post-harvest services out of Corn Production Project FY 2020-2021 from the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program.
The Sitio Calachuchi, Alibog Corn Farmers Association (CACFA) earned Php 504,348.00 gross income from producing 28 metric tons (MT) of yellow corn.
The group took advantage of farming machines granted by the SAAD Program that transitioned their manual threshing and milling practices into mechanized process, significantly cutting time and labor resources from the farmers, and gaining extra income as these services were offered to other farmers in the community.
Situated in the mountainous area of Magsaysay, members of CACFA are dependent mostly on yellow corn production for their livelihood, cultivating an estimated cumulative area of 17.5 hectares (ha). The farmers prepare for planting corn around May to July, utilizing rain for irrigation.
Modernizing corn production processes
After 105-110 days, corn is harvested and sun-dried for two (2) to three (3) days to remove the kernels from the husks. The kernels will then be solar dried for another three (3) days before they are ready for sale.
Before the SAAD Program’s intervention, the Mangyan Indigenous People (IP) farmers would use gudguran for threshing, an equipment usually made out of nails and wood to manually remove corn kernels from the husk. According to the members of CACFA, a 50 kilogram (kg) sack of corn usually takes a day to finish, taking them more time before they can sell their product.
On the other hand, corn milling for food consumption was only possible by using a gilingang kahoy, or a manual wooden milling machine. According to Mr. Rosendo E. de Juan, CACFA’s chairperson, two (2) kg of corn kernels takes more than an hour to reach its size for food consumption.
In 2021, SAAD Program awarded a corn thresher and corn mill under Corn Production Project FY 2021 to assist the farmers in transitioning to mechanized farming practice, along with other complementary interventions to assist with corn production.
SAAD Program also provided capability building on corn production for the beneficiaries in August 2022 with the assistance of the Municipal Agricultural Office (MAO) of Magsaysay.
Table 1. Corn Production Project FY 2020-2021 inputs for CACFA
The equipment drastically reduced the time for processing corn, as hours of manual labor are minimized to minutes of threshing and milling.
“Ngayon na may [corn] miller at thresher na kami, ang dali na mag-giling at mag-giik. Marami rin sa aming mga miyembro ang nahikayat na magtanim nang mas malawak dahil may gamit na kami para mas madaling makapagbenta,” Mr. de Juan said.
(Now that we have corn miller and thresher, it is easier to mill and thresh. A lot of our members were encouraged to expand their land for corn production because we have the equipment for faster market opportunities.)
Expanding the mesh of a-maize-ing opportunities
The CACFA saw the opportunity for another income-generating activity for their association. The FA is currently offering threshing and milling services to farmers in their community. For threshing service, the association charges 10% of the corn volume (usually per sack) pre-threshing as service fee, while for the milling service, the group collects Php 3.00 per kilo.
The group accumulated Php 19,060.00 from their threshing services, 60% of which were divided among seven (7) operators while the remaining 40% proceeded to the association’s funds.
On the other hand, the milling services generated a gross income of Php 5,888.00. Half of the income (50%) was divided among the three (3) operators and the other half will be added to the group’s funds which will be used to cover maintenance expenses.
Mr. Rosendo also shared how their association is planning to reach more market chains to cater, such as poultry supply stores in nearby municipalities. Yellow corn by-products are used for animal feed and have a high demand in the municipality.
This will provide another source of income to the farmers besides selling shelled corn with prices ranging from Php 14.00 to Php 20.00 depending on its quality.
Furthermore, to achieve sustainability and seamless operations, CACFA is also working out other means to acquire other farm equipment and trailer to be used for transporting goods. The FA wants to explore other options to avail other services offered by their local government unit in terms of agricultural inputs’ aid. ###
Writer: Dianne Francis A. Sy-Gorembalem, DA-SAAD MIMAROPA Information Officer
Source: Vilmar J. Robes, DA-SAAD Area Coordinator – Magsaysay
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