In the absence of rain, farmers in the highlands of Davao City suffered agriculture productivity loss, high labor cost, and high mortality rate of their crops. To address this concern, the DA High-Value Commercial Crops Program (HVCDP) funded an agri-water system in Davao Region that benefits Mahalyang Salaysay Farmers’ Association (MASFA). The project reportedly costs Php 1.1M. DA Project Officer Rubylyn Gomez said that the project aims to provide enough water supply to the farms in the region. She added that the project is in support of the Regional Convergence Initiative (RCI) programs in the Davao region under the CADP of Suawan-Kulafu Subwatershed.
Gomez said that the farmers of Sitio Mahalyang in Brgy. Salaysay are the primary beneficiary of this project. They are living in a place where water is like gold (rare and expensive). The farmers, whose roots come from the ovu manubo tribe, are producing high-value crops such as banana, cacao, durian, coconut, coffee, and rubber among other crops.
“Farmers in the highlands depend solely on rainfall to water their crops. During the dry season and in the absence of rain, these farmers fetch water from the river using big containers, which is laborious and entails additional input expenses”, Gomez said.
Samuel Maga, 54, one of the beneficiaries, said that he is grateful for the project in which he benefited not only for his crops but also for his household use.
“Sa una sa wala pa ning water system, didto mi nagakuha ug tubig sa sapa para among gamiton sa balay. Layo kini, dilikado, ug langan sa trabaho (before this project, we fetch water that we use for household from the river, which is very far, risky, and laborious)”, Maga said. He added that since this project is completed now, clean water is just flowing from the water source down in front of his house.
MASFA Chair Ronald Resumadero said that since the Suawan-Kulafu Subwatershed was launched as a convergence area, their livelihood became more productive. They now have greater access to the market because of the farm-to-market roads. Their yield improved vastly through the provision of planting materials like cacao and other crops.
He mentioned that almost all of his constituents in MASFA received cacao and rubber seedlings, attended seminars, and received assistance from different government agencies. Some other agencies like the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, Agrarian Reform, and Interior and Local Government, and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) of Davao City also enjoined to increase the community’s production and income.
“We are hoping that all government projects that will be implemented in our area will anchor to this Agri-water system given by DA”, Resumadero concluded. ###