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Ifugao farmers and fisherfolk gear up for BFAR-SAAD aquaculture projects

IFUGAO, March 21, 2023 – Entering the province of Ifugao for its Phase 2 implementation, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – Special Area for Agricultural Development (BFAR-SAAD) Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) conducts fundamental leadership and management training in preparation for aquaculture livelihood grants to about 106 farmers and fisherfolk in the province.

Backed by the Hingyon Local Government Unit (LGU), the activity was personally attended by the municipality Chief, Mayor Florencio B. Nanula. “The deserving project recipients must be interested in the intervention – that is one of the important considerations in selecting our fisherfolk beneficiaries because you will be pioneering the implementation and success of the program here in Ifugao, and be the model for other fisherfolk to replicate the result of this, soon,” he shared in his message.

In the province of Ifugao, BFAR-SAAD targets to assist 3 fisherfolk associations (FAs) that will benefit around 106 individual fisherfolk members in Asipulo, and Hingyon municipalities, both tagged as 5th income class municipalities and with poverty incidence rates at 32% (former), and 23% (latter) respectively. 

The activity, specifically focused on Hingyon, was attended by a total of 46 beneficiaries and members from two (2) targeted fisherfolk associations: (1) Iwang Farmers Fisherfolk Association from Barangay Poblacion, and (2) Naluwah Farmers and Fisherfolk Association from Barangay Cababuyan South. Both FAs are composed of 23 members and are newly organized to qualify for the assistance of the program.

As part of the basic eligibilities of the SAAD Program, recipients who are organized fisherfolk groups, particularly in the identified 38 municipalities based on the 2018 Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Small Area Estimates data bearing the highest poverty incidence rates in the Cordillera Region, will be accommodated and considered for the projects from SAAD.

Project management and financial training

Naluwah and iwang are Tuwali terms (native Ifugao language) about the cultural practice of planting rice. Naluwah signals the start of the fishing period, while iwang signals the end of the rice harvest. They thought of these names to preserve the cultural belief and practices of the old folks in Hingyon believing that recognizing said traditional practices will bring forth a bountiful harvest for the community.

Naluwah and Iwang FAs are lined up to receive free aquaculture livelihood inputs such as feeds and fingerlings applicable for rice and fish culture in one cropping period. Per the SAAD Phase 2 guidelines, the FAs already underwent beneficiary needs assessment (BNA), one of the activities of social preparation component done in the early stage of community engagement. As of date, the FAs now proceed to the capability-building activity prior to receiving the livelihood grants.

The participants underwent a lecture orientation about the SAAD Phase 2 implementation, other BFAR-CAR programs, different tilapia culture management, and the “fish n LEarn”, or the financial education game for fishers.

“I enjoyed the game since I was able to appreciate the importance of decision-making on what needs  to prioritize such as savings, negosyo, and insurance,” said Leni B. Tuguinay, a member of the Iwang FA.

The game was a good avenue for the project recipients to internalize the value of having a business emphasizing the SAAD project inputs as their initial capital in their business venture. The goal of SAAD Phase 1 primarily focused on strengthening the sustenance capacity of the marginalized fisherfolk in the priority provinces, addressing food security in the communities. However, sustainability efforts were then equally emphasized which was addressed through the establishment of community-based enterprises (CBEs) that will help the recipients maintain the operation of the grants.

The “fish n LEarn” is a simulation game for fisherfolk aimed at equipping learners with financial knowledge and positive money values. The game is structured around five key messages (5Ms) for fisherfolk that include: (1) maging mapagkalinga sa karagatan; (2) mag-impok ngayon para sa kinabukasan; (3) magpalago ng kita sa pamamagitan ng pagne-negosyo; (4) mag-seguro para protektado; and (5) maging matalino sa pag-utang.

For BFAR-SAAD’s Phase 1 implementation, the program covered 3 provinces in CAR: Kalinga, Mountain Province, and Apayao, which assisted 25 municipalities in the region. As Phase 2 commences in CAR, the program targets to cover 38 fisherfolk groups with about 1,140 members across 6 provinces (Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Mt. Province, Kalinga) and 38 municipalities that qualify the area and beneficiaries selection considerations. 

Beneficiaries, like in the Phase 1 implementation, will access capacity-building training focused on production, values formation, fiscal management, and aquaculture livelihood projects considering community needs and socio-economic conditions of the fisherfolk. ###

Jessa Mae D. Gabon, DA-SAAD NPMO Information Officer
Rodelyn F. De Vera, BFAR-CAR Information Unit

Michelle Peralta, BFAR-SAAD CAR Alternate Focal Person
BFAR-CAR Regional Information Unit

Photos: BFAR-CAR Regional Information Unit

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