“We wanted to motivate the participants to engage in entrepreneurial activities by presenting some livelihood opportunities in agriculture,” says Dr. Ofelia Malonzo, PhilRice’s supervising science research specialist and project lead.
This initiative was created through the partnership between the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), PhilRice, and the local government of Mabini.
Initial phase of the partnership was a training program titled Pagsasanay sa Produksiyon ng Palay at iba pang Pangkabuhayan. Forty DSWD partners and community educators were trained on rice, vegetable, and livestock production. They then shared their learnings to 480 4Ps beneficiaries in 12 barangays in Mabini during their regular family development sessions.
Participants were also exposed to agro-enterprising activities through a study tour at PhilRice, Philippine Carabao Center, and Central Luzon State University. They were exposed not only on rice but also on hydroponics technology, and in goat and organic vegetable production.
“The establishment of a learning farm and the conduct of field tours gave them the opportunity to actually observe best farming practices, which could later improve their management decisions in their actual fields,” Malonzo adds.
Also part of the program were lectures and hands-on demonstration on PalayCheck, an integrated rice crop management system.
Organizational building and values formation
The program also aims to assist in organizing individual farmers into self-help groups. Towards the end of the program, Villacorta Association and the Balincaguin Core Farmers Association (BCFA) were established.
“We shouldn’t be selfish. Whatever techniques or information we learn in agriculture, we should share it to the neighborhood. We should grow together as a community,” says Jimmy Ragudos, president of BCFA, when asked on their significant learning from the project.
Starter kits composed of rice and vegetable seeds, basic farm tools, and other materials were also provided for the beneficiaries to sustain the initiatives of the government. Mabini government has funded the construction of the office buildings of the farmers’ associations and the implementation of the goat raising component of the project.
Mabini Mayor Alimar Briana stated that they will sustain these initiatives with the help of DSWD and the local agriculture office. DSWD personnel also continue to conduct sessions on values formation and monitor the progress of the 4Ps beneficiaries engaged in this initiative.
Strategies and impacts of this training program were presented in a poster at the 24th Federation of Crop Science Societies of the Philippines Scientific Conference held in Iloilo City last June. It won first place in the technology, extension, and development category.