BY MAX N. MACAHILO
Upland farmers of Murcia and Salvador Benedicto received P1.5 million in livelihood projects from the Department of Labor and Employment recently.
The DOLE and the Provincial Environment Management Office turned over to the 104 members of the Brgy. Igmayaan Farmers’ Association varieties of banana suckers, organic fertilizers, and farm tools under the Integrated Livelihood Emergency Employment Program.
Luisa Tutor, PEMO Upland and Coastal Eco-System Management coordinator, said BIFA is composed of beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program and of the Integrated Social Forestry. Together, these farmers, under the guidance of PEMO and AlterTrade, formed a group and created a collective farm devoted to banana farming.
Suckers of banana varieties, such as balangon, tordan, and saba, were given to be planted to the group’s 100-hectare farm. Banana is considered a high value crop by the Department of Agriculture and the demand of it is steadily growing over the years, Tutor said.
Under the project, 25 percent of the total volume of production will be marketed by the the Negros Organic Fair Trade Association, the marketing arm of the organization, 25 percent will be supplied to Organic Negros Producers and Retailers Association, 25 percent will be supplied to adjacent markets, such as Cebu, and the remaining percentage will be for local markets of neighboring areas, like Salvador Benedicto, Murcia, and Bacolod City, and other prospective buyers.
The project management will be composed of the barangay council of Igamayaan, being the main stakeholder of the project, and the BIFA officers, to ensure strict implementation of policies and procedures while AlterTrade Foundation Inc. will impart the training and other technical services, including the implementation of good agricultural practices, Tutor added.
The group is expected to produce 15.625 bunches of bananas in a year, with a 10 percent mortality rate.
Meanwhile, the DILEEP also turned over P500,000 worth of fertilizers to members of Canlandog Pilot Agro Forestry Farmers Association in Murcia.
The fertilizers are for the propagation of the group’s sugarcane, corn, and rice crops. DILEEP seeks to contribute to poverty reduction and reduce the vulnerability to risks of the working poor vulnerable and marginalized workers, either through emergency employment and promotion of the entrepreneurship and community enterprise.
The turnover ceremony was attended by PEMO for LGU coordinator Samuel Maja, and Program Management Division head Eriberto Madalag.*