The members of Caigangan-Bagtingon Vegetable Growers Association
One of the most common problems upland farmers are facing is irrigation. It is hard for the water to reach the plots because of elevated area and without irrigation the farmers’ production and income will be adversely affected. With this situation, the Department of Agriculture closely monitors the needs of the upland farmers so that they would be able to assist them on what they need. DA offers different kinds of support like equipment and farm supplies. DA is one of the participating agencies in Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process formerly, Bottom-Up Budgeting or BUB that aims to strengthen the convergence of delivery of national services in the communities and to offer a balance identification of priorities. BUB provides assistance to the poorest of the poor with the condition that they will give a 40% counterpart of their projects.
In Marinduque, DA through GPBP or BUB has assisted a group named Caigangan-Bagtingon Vegetable Growers’ Association (CBVGA) with a total of 28 active members. The association is located in the elevated area of Buenavista where matters on irrigation and transportation are big issue. According to Ms. Rosalinda Montiel-Ogalinola, the newly-elected president of the association, the organization started last 2006. She said that most of the members were harvesting crops like eggplant, tomato, cucumber, legumes, ampalaya and okra. Ms. Rosalinda mentioned that DA has helped their organization a lot.They had been provided with water pump last 2011, rotavator, agricultural supplies like drums, hose and sprayer and a draft animal(carabao) along with a direct access to export their harvest in the food terminal last 2012. Mr. Gerardo Vicenteco Sales, the former president of the association, said that they had received the BUB project last 2014, on which funds were used to purchase cows, hand tractors, another water pump and a 100m plant hose. Most of the farmers joined the Farmer’s Field School conducted by the provincial government and they had learned the right techniques in planting the crops and the importance of organic agriculture. According to the CBVGA president, the association is trying to innovate and to be more organic by trying to produce their own fertilizers and pesticides like vermicomposting and wood vinegar making.
After receiving this assistance from DA theassociation earn more, have acquired complete set of tools and equipment, have sure buyers in market and they are able to assist their own families as well. According to some farmers, vegetable farming has improved their lifestyle, some of the farmers hadbeen able to build and reconstruct their houses, some had purchased other farm animals, and others had purchased units of tricycle which they use to deliver their crops to town. Most of the farmers had already saved enough money to cover school expenses of their children. As of now, the local government is still finishing their Farm-to-Market Road project that aims to improve the roadways so that the crops will be more accessible to the consumers.
The members of Caigangan-Bagtingon Vegetable Growers’ Association wanted to be an inspiration to other farmers and organizations as well. They wanted others to know that with the right assistance, right materials and right knowledge, they can be successful in this industry.