By Bonita L. Ermac
Through Vice President Leni Robredo’s Angat Buhay Program, livelihood subsidies for abaca fiber processing were provided to at least 32 abaca farmers in Piagapo, Lanao del Sur.
The team has given an abaca stripping machine, 66 sacks of organic fertilizer,44 sickles (knives) and two sprinklers in a turn over ceremony held at the ABC Hall, Municipal Complex, Barangay Bubo here recently.
The abaca stripping machine was identified by the farmers as a priority need because they currently sell raw abaca fibers to an individual trader in the nearby town of Balo-i where it is processed.
An average farmer will earn around fifty to sixty pesos per kilo which amounts approximately reached up to P217, 500 after one harvest season equivalent to eighteen months.
With this development, providing this machine would allow them to sell the abaca fibers at eighty pesos a kilo which gave them earnings as much as P348, 000 per harvest season.
“Having their own communal stripping machine would lessen travel and production costs, would allow the farmers to produce beter quality abaca fibers and earn more per kilo of abaca sold” said Robredo.
“Sana maalagaan natin ang gamit na ibibigay at maging daan ito para mas lalong makagaan sa inyong dala-dala. Sana tuloy-tuloy na ang katahimikan na natatamasa natin ngayon para makabangon naman tayo”, she said.
Mr. Mohammad “Malik” Datumanong, Chairman, Lusod Farmers Cooperative so with the abaca growers expressed gratitude for the help extended to them by the second highest leader in the country. “Napakarami pong salamat sa kanyang mga kasamahan at sa tulong na ibinigay, iyan po ay makakatulong sa amin at iyan ay alagaan po namin ng mabuti.
Meanwhile, Malik was the pioneer abaca farmer in Piagapo which started back in 2012. He has been multi-cropping abaca with falcata trees which helps in better agricultural productivity. While most of the other farmers tend one to two hectares only, he is able to tend six hectares through the years of hardwork.
Ribbon cutting: VP Leni Robredo led the cutting of ribbon in a turn-over of livelihood subsidies to the Abaca Farmers, with Piagapo Mayor Ali Sumandar, Vice governor Mamintal “Bombit” Adiong, Jr., and Mohammad “Malik” Datumanong represented the farmer.