Libagon is a 5th-class coastal municipality in Southern Leyte with a population of 15,244 individuals that represents 3.55% of the provincial population according to 2020 data of Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
When the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program’s implementation started in the province in 2018, Libagon was identified as one the municipalities covered along with Malitbog, Bontoc, Tomas Oppus, Liloan, St. Bernard, Sogod, San Francisco, and Pintuyan.
Established in June 2018, the United Farmers Association of Pangi (UniFAP) composed of 27 small-scale rice farmers and farm workers from Brgy. Pangi, Libagon, was initially granted the Swine Fattening Project of SAAD. In the same year, SAAD Southern Leyte’s Hogstel, a communal facility for swine raising was also established in Brgy. Pangi as the community was seen as the most suitable for Hogstel given its proximity to the national road and access to water supply.
By September 2018, the FA received the package of intervention along with a swine management and production training worth Php 1,728,800.
Table 1. UniFAP’s Swine Production Project inputs for FY 2018
From 2018 to 2022, UniFAP had 9 cycles of swine production with an operating revenue of Php 1,357,994 and Php 266,266 net income. Their usual expenses include labor, feeds, and biologics.
Before the supposed start of the FA’s 9th cycle in 2021, the local government unit (LGU) of Libagon informed that the province of Southern Leyte detected its first positive case of African Swine Fever (ASF) in a nearby town in October 2021. ASF is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic and wild pigs that could reach 100% mortality. UniFAP then decided to halt operation of the swine fattening to avoid any diseases and future income loss for more than a year.
Table 2. Swine Fattening Production Data
In August 2022, the Provincial Veterinary Office and LGU of Libagon was declared as ASF free, and FAs were advised that it is safe to raise hogs again in the municipality. After halting the production for more than a year, the group was left with Php 136,000 savings in their bank.
Currently, the association has 7 piglets purchased in October 2022 and expected to be on sale this December for lechon rate, since it has a higher price per liveweight.
In December 2021, Typhoon Odette devastated the province of Southern Leyte affecting members of UniFAP. Houses, farm crops such as root crops and rice, and backyard gardens were damaged. Fortunately, the association’s hogstel remained intact and safe during the typhoon.
The group decided to loan Php 80,658 from their savings gained from previous cycles to help members affected by typhoon Odette.
Road to recovery
To help the FA recover from the effects of both ASF and typhoon, and considering the association’s performance and management of the Swine Production project, SAAD Southern Leyte selected UniFAP as FY 2022 Broiler and Corn Production project beneficiary.
The new project is a blessing and gives hope for members to continue their venture. From 27 members in 2018, the current number of members jumped to 47 individuals. The new members were from the same community who were inspired to join the FA because of the good management practice seen in the group, such as regular monthly meetings, transparency in production, financial report available to all members, and openness to suggestions to improve the association’s operation.
In June 2022, the association received 24 kg of sweet corn seeds, 20 bags of organic fertilizers, with other inputs received in the succeeding months.
Table 3. Broiler Chicken, Corn Production and Marketing inputs for FY 2022 as of September 2022
The sweet corn seeds were planted in the association’s 0.50 hectare (ha) communal land on June 15, 2022 which was harvested between August 15-31, 2022.
The fresh sweet corn cob weighed 1,202 kg in total volume and was sold mainly to the local buyers in the area and nearby barangays at Php 60 per kilo, obtaining a gross income of Php 72,120. They incurred Php 5,000 production expenses for land preparation, weeding, labor, and fertilizer application which were covered by their earnings.
The group earned Php 67,120 net income for sweet corn production during the 1st cropping, while the 2nd cropping started last September 2022 and is expected to harvest this December 2022.
“Padayon gihapon, nasugdan na. Amo ning ampingan ug ipadayon” (Keep going still, it has already started. We will take care of it [projects] and continue), stated Nanay Criselda Bultron, UniFAP secretary.
In spite of the setbacks from pandemic, ASF, typhoon devastation, and even high inflation rate, UniFAP still had a fruitful harvest. The group proves to be a pillar of strength and coordination and serves as a model to other SAAD farmer associations.
UniFAP was nominated in the 2019 SAAD Saga for their production and income from the project and the group plans to continue providing quality fattened swine, and sweet corn cobs in the community. Their story is a milestone worth copying. ###
Writer: Cristy A. Bitos, DA-SAAD Southern Leyte Area Coordinator