Farmers association reaps P500K in sales
The Panicuason Farmers Association (PFA) in Naga City with 65 members earned a total of P501,762 in gross income from their vegetable production in 2021.
Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Maria Gracia R. Sales said that the development interventions made by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) through the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPaHP) program enabled the PFA to seel that much.
A DAR initiative with support from other agencies, EPaHP aims to establish community gardens in the agrarian reform communities. This is in support of the government’s food security and hunger mitigation programs.
Sales lauded the association for their achievements, saying, “May you continue your service to the community and your group members. You make us proud,” she said members regularly sold a variety of vegetables all year round last year to market and institutional buyers. The association also delivers to a consolidator in Ocampo town, who in turn supplies the vegetables to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
DAR AID Panicuason Farmers Association (PFA) President Eduardo M. Brosola receives vegetable garden-type seeds, seedlings, and other gardening tools from Rodel Martirez, chief for Support Services of DAR Camarines Sur II, during a simple distribution rite conducted at Panicuason, Naga City, on March 21.
“There is an NGO that regularly buys in bulk and distributes it for free to the public. Sometime in 2020, PFA also supplied vegetables to Mother Seton Hospital, the most modern hospital in Naga City today,” she added.
PFA Manager Rolando Cruzata also said some of the organization’s members buy the harvests from their colleagues and sell them individually at the Naga City People’s Market and in their own sari-sari stores.
Cruzata said the association is confident in sustaining the strong sales since they have already established a community garden of their own. As natural farming practitioners and advocates, their community garden, which is actively managed by 15 members, is teeming with vegetable varieties such as water spinach (kangkong), eggplants (talong), tomatoes, string beans, and chayote (sayote), among others.
“We plant a variety of veggies, especially squash, but we see chayote’s income is better. We tried this crop after seeing its value and potential,” said Cruzata.
“For our members, chayote is a common vegetable, but its yield increases as the plant grows older.
When their crops reach maturity and are at their peak, they may collect up to 40 sacks, or 300-400 kilograms, of chayote fruits every week,” he explained.
According to Cruzata, who is also the group’s treasurer, 50 percent of the net sales from the communal garden go to PFA, and the remaining 50 percent is shared by 15 members.
Apart from the communal garden, other members are also growing their own food on their diversified farms. They sell their vegetables within the community, and the surplus are taken to the market. They already have a group of “suki” at local eateries in the city. That’s why they have been gaining steady income from their fresh farm produce, said Cruzata.
When asked what their secrets were, Cruzata replied: “We have no secrets, because we have been used to planting for a long time. With the help of the EPAHP project and the training provided by DAR, more members are encouraged to plant and sell crops.
It’s really different when an agency like DAR watches over or monitors us. We work harder to have a good harvest,” he added.
PFA President Eduardo M. Brosola said the DAR’s support has helped them greatly since it has enabled members to get a much-needed extra source of income since the onslaught of the pandemic.