sign of the newly opened store outlet
Opening The Community Organic Store and Food House
Before the year ends, the community finally ventured into opening a store outlet as they moved from production to marketing. Slowly, the community members continued to sustain the gains they have achieved in food production, herbal processing and currently moved to sell their produce on a regular basis. In our last report, the community members trained and learned the ropes of herbal processing, making linaments, ointments and herbal soaps. Organic vegetable and and fruit products such as cucumber, moringa, carrots, guavas, turnips, papaya were experimented as substrates for soap making. Local consumers were satisfied with the results of the moisturizing effect of the soap. With the growing number of consumers in the locality, the community decided to open their modest store selling organic products like vegetables, fruits and processed herbal products. Aside from displays of organic produce, the store also serves as organic food eatery utilizing ingredients from the produce of the farmers, an effort being pursued by farmers who belabored on acquiring sills on sustainable food production and eventually moving to processing and marketing.
Expansion of Demonstration Farm
To maintain supply the pilot communities of Brgys San Roque, Quilao and Cantariwis in Tolosa Leyte continue to improve their organic vegetable production primarily for food and to create surplus for the market. Crops planted continued to be diversified that included various root crops, corn, herbal crops, moringga, ladies fingers, lemon grass, In addition, their communal farm was expanded to 2 hectares now established in Brgy. San Roque also established a small training center for meetings and sustainable agriculture education. A set of policies and management structure were also established so that labor force and management will be shared among members and crop production always maintained. Currently, about 15 members of the Vegetables Growers Association (VGA) is taking turns daily working on the demonstration farm.
Upcoming Addditional Farm Enterprises
Currently preparations are underway for the community members to establish their livestock component composed of poultry and hogs to be maintained both at the communal and individual members. A main component to be developed fully is organic seed production as part of the community achieving self-reliance on seed sources and to maintain food production by having seedsstocks especially fast growing vegetables. That after the typhoon's aftermath, the community can already plant short term vegetable crops that could be harvested in a few days to provide food supplements when food relief are slow in coming or will no longer be available days after the disaster. This is one of the basic disaster preparedness features that the community is taking on with their acquired skills on organic food production in relation to onsets of typhoons. They have established a policy that for every gram of seeds given, farmer-members will return another gram to the organization to be distributed to other members.
Aside from collective food production and communal food stock storage from the demonstration farm, the Tolosa Organic Farmer Association promoted backyard vegetable production so that organization members will have regular food supply on normal days and in preparation as well when storms strike. This will give members some back up supply in case of emergencies.
Soft Loan Incentives
To encourage members to sustain production, TOFA organized incentive support to members through soft loan provisions. They plan to loan out P 500 ( US$ 10) to each members to process organic produce into delicacies or confectionaires for the market aside from selling their vegetable produce. With a 1% interest, the amount is not so burdensome to members. This will be given to initial beneficiaries selected or 10 members of each of the three barangays of (San Roque, Cantawiris and Quilao). Repayment collected wil be loaned out to other members for expansion. Aside from vegetables, the community also planned to loan out P 3,000 pesos (US$ 60) to the first 10 members also of each barangay for hog raising. This is meant to provide the community members with opportunties for income. It is expected that this will be implemented in the first quarter of this year.
Edralin the Treasurer of the Enterprise endeavor of the organization is glad that finally they were able to be given soft loans with an affordable interest rate for capital of an enterprise that could add income to the family...
Arlyn assigned as Business Manager of the community's enterprise is thankful for the capital support given by the program...that aside from relief they were given the chance to stand on their own feet as part of the long term rehabilitation effort appropriate to their situation
Kuya Willy expressed gratitude that SIBAT's support was sustained and did not stop after Haiyan's relief work especially the training and technical advisories which they still need until they have the confidence to continue these on their own
Despite these, SIBAT still see the need to strenghten the members capacity to manage and lead these intiatives for them to be able to stand on their own feet and minimize their vulnerabilities when similar disaster hit their communties in the future.
members attending the opening of the store
the modest training center at the demofarm
women harvesting crops at the demofarm
farmer members inspecting their crops on sale
farmers meeting at their training center