Success of Palimbang rice farmers
Palimbang is identified to be Moro Community. It is characterized by a varied topography ranging from plain to hilly mountains. From the coast, stretching north and south upward are mountain range over 500 meters high above sea level with plains and wide inner valleys. A vast area of land in Palimbang are agricultural land of which, 14, 081 hectares are plane alluvial found in the 24 coastal barangays where some of the target community like Banbanen, Domulol and Napnapon is a part of. The agricultural land requires erosion control measures and conservation practices. This area is best for rice and vegetable farming. Palimbang is home to undiscovered tourism sites due to its unstable peace and order situation but has recently improved a lot owing to the growing economic and political developments in the recent years.
The situation of rice farmers in Palimbang are the same in other municipalities. The absence of financing institutions in the area resulted to force engagement in usury to traders with high interest rate. Most of the villages in this area are rainfed and irrigation systems are limited. Also, because of lack of pre and post-harvest equipment the farmers are not practicing synchronized farming which resulted to failure of their cropping season. The peace and order situation is another problem in this area because this is where the biggest camps of Moro National Liberation Front(MNLF )and Moro Islamic Liberation Front(MILF) are situated. Most of the project’s cluster leaders and members especially in the Moro areas have admitted to be members of these groups. With this situation, marketing consolidation is nearly impossible.
Pasali Philippines is the only NGO that is based and working in Palimbang, this gives the farmers the willingness to participate in the project. As a result, community organizing is not a problem especially with the help of DA-AT’s.The entry of Pasali-FARM project saw small openings of intervention in the farming situation of the farmers. They were initially grouped into clusters with a minimum of 10 to a maximum of 15 members each clusters. In each clusters, one leader is appointed to guide and coached its members as provided by the project. The clustering approached with the objective of moving farmers to modern market were first given to each clusters through their leaders who cascaded it to its members. The farmers started to re-adjust their farming practices for collective marketing. Some of them are now practicing synchronous farming even if the farm equipments are limited. They also undergo massive production technology training on rice production with collaboration on the local government unit (LGU) of Palimbang through its municipal agriculture office.
The exposure activities are the eye opener for these farmers, not only on good agriculture practices (GAP) but also on the modern markets that are waiting for their products. They were linked with the National Food Authority (NFA) and fair traders in the neighboring municipalities that offer fair prices. After the sample test marketing that was facilitated by Pasali, some of farmer cluster leaders and members are collectively marketing their “palay” product to fare traders and modern market even without the presence the MAEFs. They are only informing them about their initiative. Some of them formed their group into legal entities for sustainability and to allow them to have marketing arrangement with NFA which is one of the requirements. Last cropping season, the farmer beneficiaries of southern and northern Palimbang consolidated around 166,621.5 tons combination of fresh and dry palay. The project is also in the process of providing them with pre and post-harvest equipment and selected new dam for irrigation.
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