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Food, Water & Energy for Haiyan Affected Areas

by Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya (SIBAT), Inc.
A woman farmer tending to her poultry
A woman farmer tending to her poultry

We’re glad to share that the community has stepped up in maintaining their production to enterprise activities in the past months. In the last report, the community ventured into enterprise development with capital incentives provided to expand activities on herbal crop processing, continued operation of the TOFA Store and Food House and starting to raise poultry, and livestock particularly swine and goat.

Timely for Drought

The Philippines is currently grueling from El Nino – agricultural land is drying up and parched, threatening food supply which is happening in some parts of the country. The demonstration farms developed in our areas grew root crops in the past months including other fruit bearing and leafy vegetables.  It has become a buffer source now of food supplements in most households as root crops can withstand prolonged dry periods and can still fully grow .   Various types of sweet potates, yam, and cassava are going to be harvested this month . It is expected that the demonstration farms will yield about 10-15 sacks of sweet potatoes, 3 sacks of yam. By May, hopefully at the onset to of the rainy season, cassava crops will be ready for harvest. It is expected tha t the crops will produce about 10 sacks.  

The community’s priority is to share the produce among organizational members, processed about a third into yam cakes and sweet potato chips to be sold at the TOFA Store and Food House. aside from directly eating the raw produce. At the rate that the drought is going, the production plan is to replenish immediately the harvest so that the supply will be sustained.   Despite the vagaries of climate change, we are still hoping the rains will start pouring by May or June which is the start of the wet season in the Philippines .

TOFA Organic Store and Food House Picking Up

The collectively operated Organic Store and Food House is still picking up as regards regular patrons particularly for its food section.   Low productivity due to the long dry spell limited a wide variety of vegetable-based menus to offer . Nevertheless, information about the existence of the store and food house is gaining ground within the municipal centers.   Employees from the local   government agencies, church, schools started to be regular customers and have placed orders for certain type of vegetables and herbal products.

To date, among the post-harvest produced, the herbal and cosmetic products have increased demands. Turmeric capsules are best sellers with the women producing 2,500 capsules in month to cope up with the demand. They are selling the capsules at U$0.30 per pack of 10 capsules. Highly in demand likewise is powdered Moringga sold at U$.40 per pack of 10 capsules.   The women are expanding to other products. They are now polishing ginger teas and ginger candy as well as mangosteen powder.

The cosmetic products best sellers are the vegetable based soap . The women are combining different herbs to produce specific type of soap for various skin toning needs. Among the herbs used are turmeric, madre de cacao, moringga, lemon grass laced with the flower local know as Ylang-ylang with its inherit aromatic element used by one of the leading international perfume brand. The soap sells at US$ .20 to .30 a piece with the one blended with Ylang-ylang flower at close to a dollar a piece. Many women and a couple of men users feel secure as regards the organic herbal ingredients utilized. In the last two months, the women have produced already 1,000 pieces of soap. Currently, there are about 65 women involved in the collective production of the soap. In the pipeline as regards product development, the women are now experimenting on the use of papaya and a green succulent sour fruit called “kamias” as another organic soap type.


Organic Poultry and Livestock Jumpstart

It was mentioned in the last report that the communities are provided small capital loans to raise poultry, goat and swine as complementary livelihood activities. About 23 women and 24 men combined availed of the cash loan incentives to jumpstart livestock raising. To date the initial stocks particularly for poultry are growing healthy in backyard set ups of the households.   They are semi-free ranged and fed with farm waste residues, stripped cassava and sweet potato from the demonstration collective gardens. Swines are fed with cooked yam leaves, mixed with papaya leaves and rice hulls from adjacent barangays. Only a small amount of booster feeds are mixed to provide nutritional balance to the protein and other mineral requirements of the swine.

Build Up of Management Skills and Organizational Cohesion

The progress of the production, post-harvest activities within a social enterprise framework will fall short without the capacity building support like skills enhancement in managing the activities, a little financial management skills helps the community manage revenues as well. Most important, strengthening their organizational unity through leadership trainings, regular assessment and planning adjustments builds community camaraderie and provides the element of support systems necessary for them as whole to face the challenges. It is worth noting that reeling off from the disaster and coming to a point where recovery is evident is partly due to the community committing themselves to do their part in picking themselves up from the rubbles of the disaster.

For SIBAT, we deemed the time is just about ripe to turn over the reigns of sustaining the initiatives they have started and we’re just glad we were there together with GlobalGiving partners giving the needed shot in the arm for them to stand up back to normalcy.

Typical backyard poultry through soft loans
Typical backyard poultry through soft loans
women farmers tending to their demonstratin farm
women farmers tending to their demonstratin farm
sign of the newly opened store outlet
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.

Some Feedback

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
members attending the opening of the store
the modest training center at the demofarm
the modest training center at the demofarm
women harvesting crops at the demofarm
women harvesting crops at the demofarm
farmer members inspecting their crops on sale
farmer members inspecting their crops on sale
farmers meeting at their training center
farmers meeting at their training center
women procesing herbal
women procesing herbal



Communal Farm Strengthening and Expansion

In the last update, our pilot rehabilitation communities in Brgys San Roque, Quilao and Cantariwis in Tolosa Leyte continue to improve their organic vegetable production.   Aside from individual gardens, opening up new communal farms and strengthening existing   ones for collective production is ensured so that community members   would have buffer stocks of seeds if individual farmers lose their supply when floods strike. When typhoon Senyang and Ruby flooded most farms late December of 2014 , the communities received seed stocks produced in their collective farms. Surviving crops that become seed sources were eggplants, ladies finger locally named “okra”, papaya, sweet potatoes, cassava, maize, green onions, peanuts, mungbeans, tomatoes, pechay, cow peas, lemon grasses, bitter gourd. Each of these seed varieties yielded 10-15 tablespoonful sufficient for distribution and for reproduction .

Aside from own produced seed stocks, the local department agency on agriculture still maintain its seed distribution program particularly when typhoons Senyang and Ruby struck.   Hence, instead of SIBAT buying them new seeds, they were able now to fend for themselves out of the propagated seeds they planted and subsidy support from the government through the local agriculture department.

The communal farms also enable other communities to observe   organic agriculture technologies as these get replicated as showcase for other farmers and for continuous replication of technologies adopted. Communal farms were also made into learning centers where trainings on organic agriculture were conducted for new adopters of organic farming technologies . These serve as venues also for the training of trainors (TOT) who conduct extension trainings to adjacent communities.   This is part of expanding the technologies and increase the number of farmers adopting organic vegetable growing as part of equipping them with food production skills and knowledge for food supply not only during disaster period but as part of securing household food supply and income.

Also, existing communal farms   are also being prepared to integrate   hog and poultry raising components to produce   supplies for the communities’ planned marketing of meat   and poultry aside from organic vegetables.  

The Promise of Herbal Processing

With skills honed and farms expanding, women farmers found a new livelihood alternative which drew much of their interest. They are now integrating herbal crop production as part of primary health care management at the community level.   With available herbal materials, SIBAT trained them on herbal processing as alternative livelihood making herbal capsules, ointments, beauty soap and brews. This new venture excites the women members that the local government is lending some vacant rooms for processing work.   To date, their first production output   though far from what would be considered viable commercial quality did make good sales and demand is increasing.    

This includes anti-bacterial bath soap production with “moringa” processed leaves as main ingredient mixed with papaya for toning the skin and “kamias” as anti-blemishing element.   Oil from sunflower and papaya leaves extract were developed as skin ointments and massage oil.   They were able to initially produce 400 pieces and sells this at P25.00 (US$ 0.50) a piece.     For hot drinks, they produced coffee out of carbonized maize, choco and ginger brew being sold at P 45.00 (US$ 1.00) and cacao tablets for P 25.00 (US$ 0.50). They also produced their first 100 bars of laundry soap made of “kamias” and vegetable oil being sold at P15.00/bar (US$ 0.30). They produced also their first 100 pieces of derma soaps comprised of 7 herbs namely lemon grass, derries, madre de cacao, mayana, moringa, acapulco and turmeric which is known to be anti-oxidant and sells these at P 35.00 (US$0.80) a piece. Also, they processed local herbs called “ kalabo, lagundi and sambong with ginger” into cough syrups and have come up with 20 bottles at 120 ml and sells this at P20.00 (US$ 0.45) . Initially involved in these activities are 20 women from Brgy San Roque, 6 from Brgy Quilao and 11 from Brgy. Cantariwis

Aside from medical producing herbal products, the women are also venturing into production of solid and liquid organic fertlizers.     Among the products produced included liquid fertilizers such as Fermented Fruit Juices (FFJ)) papaya extracts for potassium and fermented plant juice (FPJ) made of madre de cacao, sweet potatoes, chopped banana trunks which produced 7 liters of bottles at 500 ml. They are selling this at P45.00 (US$ 1.00) per bottle.   The community is thinking of developing also biofertilizer processing plants in their demonstration farms to provide supply for existing organizational members and future adoptors of organic vegetable growing.

This October, further trainings on herbal processing and bio fertilizer making will be conducted. Parallel to this is strengthening the organization through strengthening the organizing skills of some leaders, follow up trainings on leadership and value development, orientation on enterprise, fund management and basic booking.

It is worth noting that at this point, community members are acquiring and practicing the basic skills and knowledge to produce additional food supply, livelihood/enterprise activities for income and essentially imbibing community unity and cooperation.

sample products
sample products

Restoring Production Work

In our last update, the project partners set to bounce back after being hit again by super typhoons Senyang and Ruby that struck Tolosa Leyte last December 2014 days apart from each other with a fury resembling the deadly windspeeds and storm surges of Yolanda. Undeterred , survivors wasted no time and restored damaged garden plots and common production areas ravaged by massive typhoon-borne floods. SIBAT doubled time in assisting survivors through follow up trainings, distribution of new vegetable seeds and ground technical advisory work. Finally, the project partners are reaping their hard-won produce. Food continues to be on the families’ table. Some surplus produce are sold. Now, family supplemental income starts to trickle in.

To date, family gardens are getting an average of half to one kilo per week of leguminous crops such as beans primarily for household consumption. Fruit bearing crops such as tomatoes, eggplants, ladies’ fingers, squash, bottle and bitter gourds are consumed at the household. But some extra kilos of produce are also being bought by some community households. Consumers from adjacent barangays start coming in and buy their supply from the producers.

Becoming Part of the Value Chain

The food production campaign meant to build self-sustenance after food relief would run out in the immediate aftermath of Yolanda created a significant chain in the local food supply. The local government lent their support by rallying constituencies to be active participants of the food production campaign initiatives and availing their facilities for trainings and workshops on sustainable farming. Adjacent barangays, inspired by the example plan to replicate the program in their own jurisdictions and sent representatives to follow- up trainings conducted by SIBAT on sustainable food production as a start.

Climate Attuned Agricultural Practice

Aside from overcoming the odds of the recent typhoons, the long dry spell in the recent summer months threatened veggie production and recovery efforts. The intense high temperature dried up soils and water sources dwindled and becoming insufficient for crop needs. This is where sustainable agriculture technologies beat the challenge. Open pollinated seeds used as opposed to the hybrids applied with biofertilization managed to survive and bore fruit despite reduced soil moisture. Foliars made of bio- decoctions aided by indigenous micro-organisms creating fruit-plant juices and emulsions serving as plant conditioners helped maintain robust plant growth. The use of bio-fertilizers particulalry "bokashi", a Japanese biofertilizer type  combining carbonized rice hulls, rice bran, cow manure sprinkled with indigenous microorganisms decoctions for rapid decomposition augments soil fertility.  These ingredients reduced the high vulnerability of the crops to low productivity and have strengthen their physiological structure to withstand the vagaries of intemperate local weather conditions.

Important Tool To Rebound From Disasters

This experience attested to the viability of some of the principles of sustainable farming methods as regards adapting to climate change and the hostile shocks of its effects especially in securing the primary food needs of victims. By now, the survivors who were farming during pre-disaster practices using chemical methods have seen the benefits and advantages of the organic or sustainable farming practice. Their acquired knowledge and skills have become important newly acquired tools which they can apply and innovate in any given post-disaster conditions especially that they lie in a typhoon belt area . Hence this new knowledge and capacity also boost their sense of security and confidence to build back from the rubbles of any disaster that may crash them. Definitely this will be more effective if done collaboratively with other groups and organizations.

At this point SIBAT will continue to intensify its technical advisories on the pilot communities with organized vegetable growers association such as the (1) The Vegetables Growing Association in Brgy. San Roque Tolosa with 43 active members (2) The Quilao Organic Farmers Association (QOFA) in Brgy. Quilao, Tolosa with 20 active members(3) The Magsasakang Gulayan ng Brgy. Cantawiris (MGBC) with 23 active members and the (4) Tolosa Organic Farming Association (TOFA) with 25 active members

Moving to Social Enterprise

In the last update, the communities are preparing to level up production and plans to create surplus for the market. They plan to engage themselves towards social enterprise by selling their produce in conjunction with other partner organizations organizing a local trading and marketing support. Currently, the producing communities are working on the legal requirements to make their endeavors official.

Solar Powered Water System Installation Underway

A solar powered water system to be installed in Baranggay Cantawiris is still on-going. This is part of the renewable energy-based water rehabilitation system for potable and domestic use. Social preparations is continually undertaken especially orientation on solar water pumping system and developing a community-workplan that will involve community members in the implementation of the project.

Through this, we hope the initial steps and capacities undertaken will continue to equip  the survivors with the capacities and opportunities  to stand on their feet again.

A farmer shows off his plotted vegetable garden
A farmer shows off his plotted vegetable garden

The first was typhoon Haiyan in 2013, and just as we celebrated its first anniversary in November 8, 2014 wishing for this never to happen again, two successive typhoons hit Samar and Leyte in Central Philippines once more. Typhoon Ruby came first and unleashed its fury just before Christmas and typhoon Senyang just before we ushered the new year 2015 late in December. These two typhoons came just days apart on the same month.

While typhoon Haiyan packed up winds speeding over 300 kph and brought storm surges causing swirling sea water to rise up to 8 meters and smashed land pulverizing everything on its path, Ruby and Senyang though slightly slower than Haiyan carried more rain causing massive floods and fatal landslides. All communities in Tolosa involved in the SIBAT-Global Giving food, water and energy projects were submerged in water. The steadily progressing food production and water rehabilitation work that gained ground would have to go back to square one again. This at least in terms of reconstructing demonstration farms, acquiring new seedlings to plant anew, soil re-fertilization after newly recovered healthy top soil were again washed out by the floods. Water wells would have to be assessed again that might need redrawing and reconfiguration of the distribution system.

We were quite happy then that the typhoon months usually from June-September didn't have any serious storms and thought this year would pass with a gentle breeze and typhoon-path areas can take a breather. But climate change that kept on distorting the weather patterns across the globe can really spring unwelcome surprises. Before the year ended, two successive typhoons bid 2014 goodbye with a swath of devastation brought about by floods and landslides killing some people. It did happen just when Haiyan victims have learned the rudiments of non-chemical food production technologies and have started creating their own food and conquered queuing for food relief.

Most households are already benefiting from the food they produced from leafy, fruit-bearing, climbing and root crop vegetables beginning midyear in 2014.  Rice growing has never been productive with the introduction of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). Bio-intensive gardening has been continually introduced and adoptive by households. Communal farming has become alive creating not only food for every home but fostered as well camaraderie, cooperation and unity among community members. It renewed back a sense of ready helping hands available in times of calamities and related disasters. With the damage wrought by the two typhoons...the communities would have to pick up the pieces again and redo much of what they have already started and move again forward.

From building their capacities on food production technologies, the communities have formalized their participation in rehabilitation work and solidified this cooperation through creation of vegetable growing associations.

To date, the following organization in the affected areas have been formed, namely:

(1) The Vegetables Growing Association in Brgy. San Roque Tolosa with 43 active members;

(2) The Quilao Organic Farmers Association (QOFA) in Brgy. Quilao, Tolosa with 20 active membesrs;

(3) The Magsasakang Gulayan ng Brgy. Cantawiris (MGBC) with 23 active members and the

(4) Tolosa Organic Farming Association (TOFA) with 25 active members

Organizing work is being continued for other communities to formalize themselves to continue rehabilitating their food bases and prepare for the next eventuality.

There will be additional trainings on various Sustainable Farming Technologies that will be conducted. With typhoons Senyang and Ruby damaging the earlier production farms and gardens established we need to distribute seeds again for leafy, root crops and cereals like rice and corn as staple crops.

It's worth noting that some of these organizations are moving on towards social enterprises such as processing some of their produce like bananas into chips and community-based production of organic fertilizers to serve the needs of other farmers.

The two recent typhoons may have se them back momentarily, but we are aiming to design a more climate resilient production processes by integrating buffer zones through planting of additional trees in flood pathways, develop off farm seed storage for back up and continue disaster preparedness activities and incorporate these into the daily production work.

farmers harvesting their vegetables
farmers harvesting their vegetables
planting rice through organic farming technologies
planting rice through organic farming technologies
Vegetable garden after typhoon Senyang and Ruby
Vegetable garden after typhoon Senyang and Ruby
Demo farm damaged by typhoon Senyang and Ruby
Demo farm damaged by typhoon Senyang and Ruby

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Organization Information

Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya (SIBAT), Inc.

Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila - Philippines
Website: http:/​/​sibat-inc.org
Project Leader:
Maria Pilar Castro-Pablo
Quezon City, Metro Manila Philippines
$1,576 raised of $161,625 goal
29 donations
$160,049 to go
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