The Matunoy Farmers Association (MFA) in the municipality of Gutalac is one of the beneficiaries of the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program in Zamboanga del Norte.
MFA members are farmers of all sorts. The majority of them cultivate upland and lowland rice, other crops, as well as coconut, while others raise chickens and have carabaos used in farming.
Matunoy Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative was organized into a ‘’kapundok’’, a local cebuano dialect that translates to “in a group” and was initially composed of 10 members.
Each member agreed to contribute Php 1 per day as savings to build up funds for the kapundok to be deposited in a bank as the group’s savings. This sparked the interest of Matunoy residents to join the cooperative which eventually led to a growth of 112 members in the year 2000.
In 2017, during the Program’s pilot year of implementation, DA-SAAD reached the municipality of Gutalac with the aim to provide livelihood and increase sources of income in the locality.
In the Program’s fifth year in the municipality, 52 active members of MFA were granted the FY 2021 Layer Chicken-Egg Production worth Php 1,209,800 (Table 1). Said project is eyed to be developed as a community-based enterprise through egg business in Gutalac.
Table 1. Intervention received by MFA for FY 2021 Layer Chicken-Egg Production
The egg business of MFA in its first month exhibited success after a profit return of Php 124,812.50 from selling fresh eggs for the whole month of September 2022 alone.
Table 2. Matunoy Farmers Association’s egg production (2021-2022)
One year and five (5) months into the project, 18,855 trays of fresh and affordable eggs were harvested in different sizes and were sold to their regular customers who buy in bulk, and some sold to market vendors.
With sheer grit and determination to sustain the project, members of MFA conduct monthly meetings where they present their financial status and plans to expand their poultry by purchasing additional stocks of chicken. This is to address the sufficiency of fresh eggs supply in the locality especially now that face-to-face classes are being implemented.
After every meeting, the group does a general cleaning of the poultry housing and at the end of the day, they go home bringing a portion of eggs for each member as their small incentive.
The FA employed two members as caretakers assigned to clean the poultry house, egg harvesting, as well as sorting and marketing the eggs. Each of them receives Php 5,000 every month.
“We decided to not distribute our members’ share yet until we can assure that we can replenish all these chickens once they will be culled, fortunately, the members are patient and eager enough to ensure the sustainability of the project because they know it is all for us,” MFA president Ricardo Daga said.
With hopes to expand their project, the FA commits to continue their best practices such as putting rice hull under the cages to minimize poultry odor, monthly general cleaning, and ensuring the eggs will be sold in three days at most after harvest to maintain the freshness of the products.
The chickens are due for culling by the end of November 2022 as the RTLs will reach 18 months of producing eggs. The association’s money saved in the bank and the income from selling the culled chickens will be spent on purchasing new stocks. ###
Writer: Aimee Lou D. Madjus, DA-SAAD Region 9 Information Officer
Richard Rojas, Area Coordinator I