DISOP Philippines

Strengthening and Creating Opportunities for Watershed Dwellers in Cebu

The Sto. Niño Farmers Association (SNFA) in Barangay Pamutan, Cebu City is one of the beneficiaries of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP). They are located inside the Buhisan Watershed and Forest Reserve which is one of the 5 sub-watersheds of Central Cebu Protected Landscape (CCPL). What is critical to them is the fact that the area is a sanctuary of wildlife including indigenous species thriving only in Cebu. Most importantly, the Buhisan dam in the Buhisan watershed shared around 5% of its water supply to more than 100 communities in the 9 cities and towns of Metro Cebu.

ANTONIO LAGADA (first row, 3rd from left in the photo) is the current president of SNFA. According to him when he became the president, challenges confronted him as a leader. But thanks to the trainings given by PBSP because it empowers him and the other officers of their association. One of the challenges of our leadership in the organization is to come up with a good alternative livelihood for the members. People in Barangay Pamutan relied so much on charcoal making as their source of income. Many also ventured into individual ornamental plants production but the meagre income we got is still not enough.

sto-nino-farmers-association-1“When we started organizing in 2010, we learned so many things from technical to organizational skills development. The result of our training were the establishment of PO livelihood and enterprises.

Livelihood Opportunities and Enterprises:

  1. Seedling production through the DENRs National Greening Program. This is the best that our PO members had experienced. SNFA obtained an income of Php500T from the 100T seedlings that we produced.
  2. Goat and Swine dispersal program. SNFA qualified members were also glad to receive goats and swine as additional livelihood. For swine, we practiced the Korean technology of raising pigs.
  3. SNFA Consumer store which greatly helped the PO members and the community in general. We established the store because we are very far from the city. Last 2012 we gained a net income of Php150,000.
  4. SNFA as Consolidator of Ornamental plants. We were able to convince individual growers to sell their ornamental plants to us. It was a difficult negotiation at the beginning but we prevailed.
  5. Enhancement Planting of our Reforestation Project. Because DENR trusted us already, we were able to access project to plant additional trees for 500 hectares.
  6. Establishment of a Model farm. SNFA envisioned to produce high valued crops that can be combined with our marketing of ornamental plants. Our farm also integrated the goat dispersal project thus providing ready supply of organic fertilizer from the animals.
  7. We were also able to access assistance from San Miguel Foundation by giving us a training center and bagsakan center. Our training center is already a venue for several seminars conducted on-site which opens another opportunity of catering services in our association. The Magsaysay Transport also provide training for second liners who are the future leaders of our association.

sto-nino-farmers-association-2On top of these opportunities, SNFA was able to acquire a dump truck which we already use to transport farm products to the market.

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Way forward, we want to sustain our initiatives especially as consolidator of ornamental plants. We also like to maximize the resources that we have accessed from various institutions and start a market day. We are also looking at the possibility of establishing a small fishpond production for additional income.

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