SUAL – The Department of Agriculture has recognized the Logolog Baybay Sur Farmers Irrigators Association of Sual town for its outstanding delivery of service to Philippine agriculture.
The farmers’ association received its award as the Most Outstanding Small Water Impounding System Association during the recognition rites held at the Resorts World Manila. The association received a plaque and P500,000 cash prize.
Before, farmer-members of the association have endured low production and were only able to have one cropping to produce two tons per hectare in a year due to the lack of proper water system and modern farm technology and equipment.
In 2004, Gabriel Borbon took the initiative of gathering his fellow farmers at Sitio Logolog in Baybay Sur here to tackle the problems that beset their common source of livelihood.
After their first meeting, they decided to seek the assistance of the Municipal Agriculture Office, which later on helped them organize. They pooled their resources to raise an amount needed to register officially with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in 2008.
The association was formed initially by 55 members who contributed P100 each for the start-up capital.
The group was able to establish networks with the municipal and provincial governments, non-government organizations and national line agencies for both financial and technical support.
On January 12, 2012, the DOLE-Alaminos Field Office awarded the association with P379,850 worth of livelihood assistance for the acquisition of a four-wheel Kubota tractor. The assistance came with trainings on basic management, human relations, occupational safety and health and access to social protection scheme.
The association devised a renting scheme for the farm equipment from DOLE to generate capital and augment the individual income of the members.
Using the capital generated, it also ventured into a loan program with minimal interest to help the members with their input needs.
Due to its good track record, the association received P3.8 million from the DA’s Bureau of Soil and Water Management for a Small Water Impounding Project (SWIP), providing a solution to its problem on lack of sufficient water which prevented the farmer-members to maximize the use of their farm lands.
With the SWIP, the association was eventually able to have two to three croppings in a year and increased production from two tons per hectare to 4.5 tons.
It has also ventured into other related livelihood activities such as vermicomposting, duck and native chicken raising and native swine production.
By actively participating in the DA’s programs such as the season-long Integrated Pest Management-Kasakalikasan and Farmer Field School on Vegetable, the association has earned the reputation of being “the most active organization in the municipality of Sual” which gave them access to more assistance. They also received a multi-purpose solar dryer, fertilizer assistance, multi-purpose building and many others.
At present, the association earns around P520,000 in a year.
“Looking back to where we started, it is totally humbling to be where we are today. Our hard work, cooperation and determination are bearing fruits. But we could have not achieved all of these without the support of the provincial and municipal LGUs of Pangasinan and Sual, the DA, BSWM and the DOLE. We know we cannot thank all of them enough, but we hope to pay it forward by continuing to be the government’s partner in development,” Borbon said. (PIA-1, Pangasinan with reports from DOLE)