Validating thriving community-based enterprises in SAAD Occidental Mindoro

OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, August 30, 2023 – In recognition of the remarkable contributions made by implementers and partners in Phase 1, the Special Area for Agricultural Development – Public Relations and Development Communication (SAAD-PRDC) team from the National Program Management Office (NPMO), recently conducted a visit to seven (7) fully-established community-based enterprises (CBEs) in Occidental Mindoro.

The visit held on June 26 to 29 aimed to highlight the significant contributions of local farmers in fostering agricultural development in the community, through highlighting their agribusinesses, which will be documented and published in a visual medium – a coffee table book.

Among the associations visited are the Blessed Coreans Swine Raisers Association (44 members), Rural Improvement Club Lutic (35 members), The Chickzone Farmers Association (25 youth members), Samahan ng Madiskarteng Pangkababaihan Farmers Association (25 members), Mabunga Vegetable Vendors Association (25 members), Palueños Chicken Laying Farmers Association (29 members), and Sitio Hinugasan Cassava Planters Association (58 members).

SAAD NPMO Technical and External Communications Officer, Ms. Jemiema Arro emphasized that the primary objective of the said visit is to give the farmers an opportunity to tell their success stories, share their experiences, and express the agricultural transformative impact they had on their communities. Added by Ms. Arro, by creating a dedicated book that features these remarkable associations, the program aims to raise awareness and attract potential support from various agencies and private sectors.

With unwavering determination and support from the program initiative, the Blessed Coreans Swine Raisers Association and the Rural Improvement Club (RIC) Lutic flourished under the Swine Production Project. The Chickzone FA, Samahan ng Madiskarteng Pangkababaihan FA, and Palueños Chicken Laying FA were empowered through the Ready-to-Lay (RTL) Chicken Production Project, leading to increased production and improved market access for egg products.

The Mabunga Vegetable Vendors Association, supported by the Vegetable Production Project, expanded its cultivation and gained greater market visibility, benefiting both farmers and the local community with fresh vegetables. Similarly, the Sitio Hinugasan Cassava Planters Association thrived under the Cassava Production Project, offering dried chipped cassava to their community.

Table 1. Implementation of livelihood project and established enterprise With 241 farmers supported by the program, members stated that the projects enabled them to put food on the table as a direct result of the livelihood assistance. They also shared how the program had significantly improved their lives by reducing production costs through agricultural interventions, leading to a substantial increase in income.

Mr. Orly Reyes, President of Sitio Hinugasan Cassava Planters Association, expressed that with the support and market linkages provided by SAAD, their income gradually improved. In 2020, they sold 1,235 kilos of cassava, earning Php 9,880. In April 2023, their production soared to 17,009 kilos, generating a remarkable income of Php136, 081. This success has motivated them to put even greater effort into cultivating cassava, transforming their lives with the recognition of their milestone with the program.

“Napakaganda po ng SAAD. Ngayon ay tumataas na po ang kita namin, kaya po ngayon lalo na sumigasig ang aming samahan sa pagtatanim ng cassava. Ang SAAD at ang DA po ay tunay na tumutulong sa amin,” said Reyes.

(SAAD has proven to be exceptionally beneficial. With the steady growth in our income, our association is now wholeheartedly embracing cassava cultivation. Both SAAD and DA are instrumental in helping us.)

The program was launched in 2019 in Occidental Mindoro and provided support to 151 associations, benefiting 4,533 farmers with 2,904 members belonging to indigenous groups. The municipalities are home to indigenous Mangyan people, which constitutes most of the SAAD MIMAROPA beneficiaries.

Unlad Lokal, a coffee table book set to be released this year, offers a rich collection of images and descriptions showcasing the community-based enterprises’ origins, milestones, and relevant experiences of various groups. This inspiring publication will provide a comprehensive glimpse into the remarkable journeys of these enterprises and their significant contributions to sustainable development. ###

Writer: Melissa F. Lingco, DA-SAAD MIMAROPA Information Officer