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PIA Press Release
Thursday, January 19, 2012

 

ComVal farmers profit from ‘Pinakbet ’garden

by Sherwin B. Manual

NABUNTURAN, Compostela Valley Province, Jan. 19--Only sans pork and bago-ong, their garden is cauldron of ‘pinakbet.’

The 7-hectare sprawl of congregated farm land of 11 farmers is planted to ampalaya (bitter gourd), squash, eggplant, string beans tomato collectively known as pinakbet, a native Filipino delicacy whose main ingredient are these vegetables.

This site, now the source of their better incomes, is a revival of the greenery and the increased income of vegetable farming in the years past.

“We’ve been vegetable farmers before. But when the insurgent groups NPA (New people Army) had invaded this part of the barangay, most of the farmers abandoned the area to escape from the strife,” said Alberto Osorio, chairman Upland Barangay Linda association (UBLA).

“Majority of the Brgy. Linda was devoted to vegetable farming even beyond the seven hectares garden that we have now. Plus we were given additional rubber production project from the Upland Development Project (UDP),” he added.

When the insurgency problem was resolved, farmers were left with no capital, nothing to start about to go back to their farming.

But the POs enthusiasm and hope in vegetable gardening were renewed when the local government identified them to be the beneficiaries of the Department of Agriculture – Mindanao Rural development Program (DA-MRDP).

MRDP is a poverty alleviation initiative implemented under DA with funding from the World Bank, National Government and the Local Government Units in Mindanao.

Under the Community Fund for Agriculture Development (CFAD), the livelihood component of the Program the association received a total amount of P250,000.00 which the group bought for the inputs of their vegetable farming and rubber seedlings.

“Under the CFAD fund we proposed two projects, one is vegetable farming and rubber production to expand our previous project under DA-UDP,” Osorio said.

UBLA has a total of 35 members, the first eleven members who were selected to do the vegetable farming where selected based on their experience and expertise. The rest of the members did the rubber production project.

The 11 vegetable farmers already had their third round of planting the ‘pinakbet’ vegetables which earned the association over a gross income of over P500 thousand.

Rogelio Clariada, a member of UBLA, obtained 10 sacks of vermicast , 1 sack of urea, 1 x 100 grams of ampalaya seeds and 10 kilos plastic twine for trellis.

During their first cropping, Clariada has tasted the sweeter side of ampalaya.

The 58-year old widower planted a total of 2,000 ampalaya seedlings to his two parcels of farm lots which yielded a total of 520 kilos and grossed P18,200.00.

But his ampalaya income was just another branch of the vine. On the first rounds of planting, he started with tomato which earned him a total of P126,700.00 from his total harvest of 187 crates.

His income in vegetable production supported the education of his four children: one of whom has graduated a computer technician course, one is in a college in Cebu city and the other two are in the public high school. He has also bought modest appliances for his home.

“Since the beginning we are really sure that vegetable farming will help us alleviate from poverty and we are really thankful for the help extended by DA and the World Bank,” said Osorio.

“Right now we are even more optimistic since our rubber trees planted previous are almost mature for sap collection and we are able to expand our plantation under CFAD. This will hopefully boost our incomes,” he added.(Sherwin B. Manual/DAMRDP/PIA XI)

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