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Resilient farmers: TRPA recovers from natural disaster in Eastern Samar thru SAAD’s assistance

Despite the challenges brought by the Super Typhoon Yolanda that greatly affected communities in Eastern Visayas in 2013, members of the Tabi Rice Planters’ Association (TRPA) in Balangkayan, Eastern Samar strengthened their entrepreneurial capabilities through continuous marketing of their vegetable produce and fresh eggs that not only provided them steady earnings but also access to fresh food in their community. 

Situated in the coastal town of Balangkayan, TRPA is composed of farmers engaging in rice and small-scale vegetable production. The group was formed in 2015 with only 10 members and gradually grew to 21 as years went by. They were registered as a legitimate organization to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). In 2019, the Municipal Agriculture Office introduced the group to the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA – SAAD) Program Phase 1. 

Through assessment of farmers’ needs and conducting feasibility studies for livelihood interventions to be provided in the community, TRPA was shortlisted as beneficiaries of the FY 2020 Vegetable Production Project worth Php 284,580. The inputs include assorted vegetable seeds, fertilizers, farm tools, and other agricultural inputs. 

From January 2021 to July 2023, the association harvested and sold 6,752 kilograms of assorted vegetables from a 1-hectare communal farm, giving them gross income of Php 411, 355. 

As part of the program’s sustained livelihood assistance, the group further received Php 2,185,367 worth of FY 2021 Layer Chicken Egg Production Project. The inputs distributed to TRPA in December 2021 include ready to lay chicken, layer feeds, egg trays, antibiotic, multivitamins, polynet, egg weighing scale, and training on layer chicken production. 

During its first full year of operation, the group’s egg business generated Php 1,673,262.1 worth of gross revenue from December 2021 to December 2022.  The egg production project produces an average of 900 eggs daily which are being delivered to different market outlets such as bakeries, sari-sari and grocery stores. The group was able to distribute a monthly cash dividend at Php 928 to each member.

In order to have a smooth operation, TRPA formed 7 groups with three members tasked to feed the laying hens, ensure cleanliness of the chicken house, collect and sort eggs as well as marketing and recording of their produce. They always make sure that they keep track of all of their expenses and other finances for easier audit.  Every month the group gathers for a meeting and presents to each member their sales and cost of production.

With this positive performance shown by the group, another livelihood support amounting to Php 499,000 was given by the SAAD Program in February 2022. The agricultural inputs include layer feeds, egg trays, polynet, electric water pump (0.5 horsepower), stainless water tank (1000 liters capacity), plastic crates, ultra-violet film, plastic mulch, and fine net.

In the first quarter of 2023, TRPA utilized 40% of their savings to procure an additional 819 heads of ready-to-lay chickens as part of their project expansion. 

Hi kami an TRPA, in nagpapasalamat han DA-SAAD han pag hatag hin bulig ha amon assosasyon. Sugad han mga inputs ha vegetable production ngan an dako nga bulig ha amon an egg layer production.”, Mr. Arthur Glino, FA President shared.

(We, in the TRPA, are thankful to the DA-SAAD for giving support to our association. The vegetable seeds and inputs for egg layer production were a big help to us.)

Han yana nga tuig 2023, in nakadogang kami hin 819 heads nga layer chicken pati gihapon nakapalit kami hin battery cages. Ngan opod hini an maupay nga pagmaniho han amon pondo han asosasyon para han pag mintinar han tubong ngan bitamina,” Mr. Glino added.

(This 2023, we added 819 heads of layer chicken and procured battery cages. Because of the proper financial management, we were able to maintain our feeds and vitamins.)

With the consistent demand for eggs in Balangkayan and nearby towns, TRPA is planning to buy next year another 1,000 ready-to-lay chickens and a parcel of land for the said expansion through the money they gained from selling eggs.  Moreover, the group has already been endorsed to the Local Government Unit and the Municipal Agriculture Office for wider linkages and more agri-business opportunities. 

TRPA may have been challenged by natural disasters, but their resilience inspired them to rebuild a progressive community through sustainable livelihood from the SAAD Program. With their flourishing egg and vegetable enterprise, the group vowed to persist and persevere no matter the obstacles they may face in the future. ###

Writer: Justine May A. Delloro, DA-SAAD Eastern Visayas Information Officer 

Sources: Evan Jess M. Villanueva, DA-SAAD Eastern Samar Associate Project Officer, Val Frank Ivan G. Camartin, DA-SAAD Eastern Samar, Community Development Officer


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