ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 5 (PIA) – Livestock-raising may sound very easy for some, but for Dangi farmers of Zamboanga del Norte, it takes determination and commitment from all its members to succeed in swine production.
The Dangi Farmers Association in the Municipality of Polanco, Zamboanga del Norte, organized with 28 farmer members with a mutual interest in swine production had officially became a farmer-partner of the Department of Agriculture-Special Areas for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) program in 2018.
Godofredo Acaso, then president of Dangi FA recalled that the association immediately expressed interest on the SAAD program and processed all requirement to avail of the swine production module, including ten sows and one boar with housing facility.
Acaso said that after attending training on swine raising, each member took on responsibilities to help manage and protect the swine raising project.
Everything was going well. But in the Summer heat of April 2020, the association faced their greatest fear—the deep well has gone dry. The deep well was the only water source they had to care for their swine, and piglets were expected to be borne by all nine sows the members have been caring for in the past 10 months.
“We had to fetch water from the barangay hall which is 100 meters away from the farm. But despite this effort, we failed the seven sows, and only two sows were able to produce piglets. That was our most distressing experience with the project. We felt hopeless because we have disappointed SAAD and ourselves. We still want to attain our goals so we did not give up,” Godofredo said.
The twelve piglets were sold successfully at ₱2,000.00 each, putting up earnings of ₱24,000.00 for the association. With the low income, the animal feeds purchase became insufficient, putting the swine project at risk again. This dilemma has brought back anxiety to the association.
Fortunately, Godofredo’s cousin owns a feed store and granted the association a loan for some supplies.
Hurdles after hurdles, the president decided to resign from his position due to his dwindling health condition. Immediately, Cesar Nayal was appointed by the members to be the new president of the association. Nayal accepted the responsibility and thought that one must lead the group especially during trying times.
“Our journey is tough but we have to do everything to survive because we have to make this worth all our investments. Our time and effort will not be in vain, and the fact that the project was provided to us without costing us a single penny, we need to give it our all to make this successful,” Nayal said.
To date, after two months of setback, the association has Php 52,500.00 cash on hand, while the two remaining sows were able to produce 21 piglets, and all the members of Dangi FA received one piglet each as their share last June 17, 2021. The piglets are intended for fattening, of which plans on pork meat production and processing are set, since the members have also attended a training on meat processing.
“Just hearing the piglets’ loud cries make my heart flutter. It seems that it’s all worth the hassle. I can say that we are recovering from the adversities we’ve been through. We have doubled our attention to care for our pigs. Every day, we have three members visiting the farm to monitor their status,” the new president said.
Nayal expressed his heartfelt gratitude for this initiative of DA-SAAD. He said he hopes that programs like this should continue to reach the deprived, depressed and underdeveloped communities like Dangi (Polanco).
Catherine Aranton, the SAAD Area Coordinator for Polanco, felt proud of how the association managed to survive amidst consecutive difficulties encountered.
“I came to a point where I thought I have to report on their project as a failure. But now, as I look back, I realized that success took them by surprise,” she said.
The association faced obstacles with courage and great strength. Becoming successful entails lots of hard work and determination. From all the experiences they acquired, Dangi Farmers Association has gone a really long way. (EDT/RVC/PIA9 with reports from Aimee Lou S. Madjus/DA-RFO IX, RAFIS)