My Google Page Rank

Growing rice is Zambo farmers’ bet to rise from poverty


Zamboanga del Sur – Farmers in this province are resolved that despite difficulties in producing rice, the crop is their best bet to rise from poverty.
Armed with modest credit assistance, two rice farmers’ associations in the towns of Tigbao and Kumalarang have made significant progress in their lives.

Farmers in Barangay Begong in Tigbao now heave a sigh of relief after recovering from high-interest debts incurred from non-formal lenders. 
Begong People’s Organization (BPO) president Rommel Alegarbes said lack of financial capital is a major constraint among rice farmers like him as they need to purchase necessary inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides.

“Having no access to financial assistance, we are left with no option but resort to borrowing money from traders-lenders who usually put interest as high as 30 percent,” Alegarbes said.

Part of their borrowing agreement was for farmers to directly sell their produce to these trader-lenders who dictate the buying price which oftentimes at lower price. This system unfair financial arrangement usually short-changed farmers and plunge them to even bigger debts.

“Unless we have other financial means only then we can recover from the incurring huge debts,” Alegarbes added. 

*Breaking-free from huge debts

Their break came when the municipal government endorsed them as one of the beneficiaries of the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP).

MRDP is a poverty alleviation program of the national government implemented under the Department of Agriculture (DA). Now on its mid-term of implementation, the program is currently addressing infrastructure and livelihood needs of small farmers in the island region.

Thorough the Community Fund for Agricultural Development (CFAD), the program’s livelihood component, the association was able to access fund for their proposed for rice production project in June 2010.

“The P250, 000 funds they received was used to finance the rice production of 23 members during the previous cropping season. The farmers agreed that money borrowed by its members will have a 10 percent interest which is a much lower amount compared to non-formal lenders which charges 30 percent or more,” said agricultural technician Josephine Natinga.

“Prompt repayment is policy strictly observed so that roll-over funds will be extended to next in-line beneficiaries,” she added.

“This opportunity to relieve ourselves from high-interest lending happens only once so we need to observe the policy to sustain our livelihood,” Alegarbes said.

Meanwhile Alberto Umas one of the members who availed himself of the CFAD funds said that aside from paying his debts he has also bought ducks and chicken to augment his income.

“I told my member to look up to me. Life was too difficult then but now I can look forward to better income.  I can choose where to sell my palay at much better price,” he said.

“I am glad that the assistance I received from CFAD enabled me to recover from huge debts incurred during the previous cropping seasons and allowed me to start anew,” he added.
*Acquiring valuable assets

Farmers in Barangay Gawil, Kumalarang for their part have acquired farm implements to further boost their scarce financial resources.

Similar to Begong, Gawil is another major rice producing area in Zamboanga del Sur where farmers are heavily dependent in growing rice as their livelihood.

Valentin Pabinguit of the Gawil Irrigator’s Association said the funding they have availed themselves of from CFAD was used to purchase certified seeds, fertilizers and pesticides and distributed to their members as their inputs for the cropping period.

“Based on our experience, it would be better to provide farm inputs instead of cash so that funds will be actually spent in rice production. Farmers will have no way of spending the allocated funds for other means such as gambling and drinking” Pabinguit said.

Pabinguit said the farm inputs were given not as dole out but loan which in turn the farmers will pay in cash with 10 percent interest. Such interest is more affordable compared to 30 percent interest from non-formal lenders.

Aside from financing, lack of adequate farm equipment is another limiting factor for these rice farmers to improve their production and income. The bulk of expenses go to rental of farm equipment during land preparation and harvest season.

“Private individuals are earning much from rental fees of their farm equipment which sometimes are not available as they have to prioritize their own farming activities,” Pabinguit said adding:

“We have decided to buy thresher, hand tractor, and a carabao as draft animal from the last tranche of funds downloaded to our association.  This will not only address availability of farm equipment but also in augmenting our scarce financial resources,” he added.

The farm equipment and draft animal they have acquired are available for rent at P1, 500 for GFIA members and P1, 600 for non-members alike. Based on the report of their treasurer Laurencio Gaudencio, the association earned at least P15, 000 from the previous cropping season giving them enough amount for equipment maintenance with extra amount for their savings.

Pabinguit said members are made to realize that they have to pay back the amount of the inputs as well as the rental fees after they have harvested their crop.  He said farmers preferred to rent the association’s equipment not only because it is cheaper but they have their share of its income.

“We are quite strict in implementing our policies particularly on repayment so that each member will not be complacent with their duties and responsibilities. Timely repayment of loans will also allow our association to expand our services to next-in-line beneficiaries,” he said.

To date the association has almost doubled the funds they have availed themselves of as their total assets (farm equipment and draft animal) is amounted to P111,000 plus a collectible of P106,000 from members loan and rental fees. 

Pabinguit is optimistic that rice production in their barangay will continue to be profitable now that farmers are gradually liberating themselves from huge debts.

The association is planning to expand its services from farm input-lending to palay trading to further boost their financial resources and at the same time offer good buying price to their members.

“The financial assistance provided to us through MRDP and our LGU has given us the opportunity not only to improve our income but also on how we can sustain rice production as a profitable farming activity,” Pabinguit said.

MRDP program director in her report to DA Secretary Proceso Alcala said the program is prioritizing the rice farmers in its livelihood assistance to complement the national government’s goal of attaining sufficiency in rice production.

“Unlike Luzon and Visayas, majority of farm areas in Mindanao are typhoon-free making it ideal for agricultural production. If enough support is given to farmers here, the island region can significantly contribute in ensuring enough rice supply throughout the country,” Ramos said. (Noel T. Provido)

Related news items:
Newer news items:
Older news items:

Add comment

Security code

Beng welcomes Litlit’s appointment as SP member

15 Feb 2018 Hits:153 Be the first to comment!

President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed San Roque Barangay Chairman Joselito “Litlit” Macrohom as member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod or City council replacing Charlie Mariano who stepped down from office last November 2017. As this developed, Mayor Beng Climaco congratulated Macrohon on his appointment and wished him luck in all his endeavors. With the complete set of councilors for both Districts I and II and the sectoral representatives, the Sangguniang Panlungsod can maximize its potentials and come up with quality legislations that are in line with the priority thrust of the local government on Security Health and Education, the mayor said. Macrohon ran for Councilor under District I during the May 2016 local elections and landed 9th place. Macrohon’s appointment, along with other new appointments [...] Read more

Prev Next Page:

City Registrar observes Civil Reg Month

15 Feb 2018 Hits:79 Be the first to comment!

The city, through the Office of the City Civil Registrar,is observing the Civil Registration Month this February with several activities highlighting the importance of civil registration. The month-long observance is punctuated [...] Read more

CHO stresses need for measles vaccination

14 Feb 2018 Hits:138 Be the first to comment!

The City Health Office (CHO) yesterday appealed to parents to submit their children for measles vaccination. This after a seven-month baby died last February 6, 2018 allegedly due to measles, five [...] Read more


11 Jan 2018 Hits:280 Be the first to comment!

Este el Istoria del Jong Cariaga Mindanao Cup 2018 que ya hace na Golden Boys gym anoche. Ya sale Champion el Myeisha Jolo kay completo todo departamento del juego especialmente [...] Read more

BFP personnel to undergo fire suppression activities

10 Jan 2018 Hits:235 Be the first to comment!

Personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection in Zamboanga City will undergo fire suppression trainings in the days to come in a bid to keep them abreast of the firefighting [...] Read more


10 Jan 2018 Hits:222 Be the first to comment!

Del Domingo pasao ya mira kita con el Resto Del Mundo FC contra Red Corals United donde ya sale Tabla el juego na Soccer Football. Amo quel el ultimo juego [...] Read more

TFZ gets 10 motorcycles from City Government

09 Jan 2018 Hits:257 Be the first to comment!

Task Force Zamboanga (TFZ) on Monday received from the local government 10 units of XRM motorcycles for security patrols in the outskirts of the city. Mayor Beng Climaco together with Councilor [...] Read more

Beng leads destruction of seized items

09 Jan 2018 Hits:283 Be the first to comment!

To show the Local Government’s firm commitment to public safety and security, Mayor Beng Climaco on Monday personally maneuvered a road roller and led the destruction of seized items such [...] Read more

Warring clans arm cache seized by gov't troops in Lanao del Sur

09 Jan 2018 Hits:302 Be the first to comment!

The military on Saturday seized a cached of high-powered firearms from warring clans, following a clearing operation in Lanao del Sur province. Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, [...] Read more


09 Jan 2018 Hits:247 Be the first to comment!

MINDANAO LEAGUE 2018 BY JONG CARIAGA: Boalan Agm  nuevo star athlete Kaiwa Sabdulla y si Neil Jumao-as ya dale mira kay puede sila gana con el maga mapuersa team como el [...] Read more


08 Jan 2018 Hits:184 Be the first to comment!

JONG CARIAGA BASKETBALL MINDANAO CUP ‘18. Que el juego ta ase na golden boys gym ta principia 7:00 del noche. Fritz Vesagas amo el ya ase gana con el disuyu [...] Read more


07 Jan 2018 Hits:219 Be the first to comment!

JONG CARIAGA MINDANAO CUP Este el un torneo que debe kita mira kay el team del Myiesha Jolo tiene 5 ex PBA athleta y el losdemas puru mga star players de [...] Read more

Climaco reiterates appeal to Customs: Stop smuggling

06 Jan 2018 Hits:800 Be the first to comment!

Mayor Beng Climaco has once again appealed to the Bureau of Customs to clean up Zamboanga City against smuggling, and it can only be done if the agency will deputize [...] Read more

Escapee recaptured in Isabela

06 Jan 2018 Hits:236 Be the first to comment!

An inmate who escaped last Tuesday night from his cell in Isbela City was recaptured by the Isabela City Police on Wednesday afternoon in one of the islands in Maluso, [...] Read more

Beng orders intensified drive vs illegal quarrying

06 Jan 2018 Hits:215 Be the first to comment!

Mayor Beng Climaco has ordered a renewed campaign against illegal quarrying activities as she cited the city’s firm advocacy on environmental protection. Mayor Climaco Thursday has directed City Police Director PSSupt. [...] Read more

Four hurt in motorcycle collision

06 Jan 2018 Hits:227 Be the first to comment!

Four people were injured when two motorcycles accidentally collided in Zone 3, Barangay Guisao, Zamboanga City, on Thursday. Injured were Ryan Pantaleon y Atilano, 27, single, driver of the XRM motorcycle [...] Read more

Old man, old woman found dead in different barangays

05 Jan 2018 Hits:225 Be the first to comment!

Two elders were found dead inside their house in two separate places in Sitio Parkas, Barangay Boalan and Zone 2, Barangay Lumbangan, both in this city last Wednesday. Reports showed that [...] Read more


05 Jan 2018 Hits:189 Be the first to comment!

Este si Bryan Ray Mangaser Siglos, su palayao “Bry”, 17 años de edad, anak di Severino Ledesma Siglos y Maria Ruzen Ramos Mangaser. Su hermano si Bennett Jhordany hermana si [...] Read more

CDRRMC okeys P3M cash aid for Vinta-stricken towns

04 Jan 2018 Hits:289 Be the first to comment!

The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) has approved a resolution recommending the allocation of some P3 million from the city’s quick response fund, for financial assistance to [...] Read more