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HVC farmers harvest 3.7MT tomatoes through SAAD Phase 1 project

ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, July 28, 2023 – The 35-member group of vegetable growers recorded a 3,771 kilograms (kg) total staggered harvest of tomatoes in Sergio Osmeña, Zamboanga del Norte, as part of the Vegetable Production Project from the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program Phase 1.

The Diamante Max tomato variety was cultivated in a one-hectare communal garden of the Buenavista Farmers Association (BFA), which started the production of tomatoes in April. The area owned by a Sergio Osmeña local, is rented by the FA, located just a kilometer away from their residences. 

The tomato harvest was sold to some private buyers at varied prices ranging from Php 22-33 per kilogram (kg) depending on its size. The association earned a gross income of Php 107,992 from the tomatoes alone from June 4-22, 2023, while also waiting for the last three (3) batches of weekly harvests. The remaining tomatoes are about 5,000 hills or around 1,500 kg once harvested.

BFA is one of the pilot groups to receive livelihood projects through the SAAD Program in 2017 and continues to reap income after five (5) years in vegetable production.

As a result of the municipal-wide consultation conducted by the SAAD implementers in 2017, the BFA was granted an initial Php 68,570 worth of startup agri-inputs under the Vegetable Production Project.

In 2018, 2020, and 2021, BFA received Php 577,124 worth of fertilizers, and farm equipment such as hand tractors and a shredder machine for vermicomposting.

BFA established an agri-enterprise through the constant provision of agri-inputs, mentoring, and monitoring initiated by SAAD, led by the DA Regional Field Office 9. The projects continue to flourish with the combined hard work, unity, and perseverance of the farmers.

In 2017 and 2018, the members planted vegetables in their individual gardens and eventually established a communal garden in 2019 up to present. Although the BFA reported failure in some cropping cycles due to inevitable factors such as weather and pest infestation, they managed to continue and sustain the project through knowledge sharing among the members on pest control methods, among other farming techniques. Over the years, they shared a total of Php 21,500 as their incentives. 

The BFA purchased quality seeds from their previous cycle’s income to ensure quality produce. From land preparation to harvesting, all members do the farm work and later get a share for every cropping.

After the Phase 1 implementation, SAAD endorsed the BFA to the Local Government Unit (LGU) through the Municipal Agriculture Office for continued support and technical assistance.###

Writer: Aimee Lou D. Madjus, DA-SAAD Region 9 Information Officer
Source: Catherine S. Aranton, DA-SAAD Area Coordinator, PPMSO Zamboanga del Sur

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