Stepping up their game from being housewives to entrepreneur housewives, the women-led group Paluenos Chicken Laying Farmers Association (PaCLayFA) made Php 1,226,295.00 in two (2) years through their diligence and perseverance in the poultry business, with a little help from the Department of Agriculture - Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program.
According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), women make up 43% of the global agricultural labour force, yet they face significant discrimination when it comes to land and livestock ownership, equal pay, participation in decision-making entities and access to credit and financial services.
Through the continuous efforts of the government in reaching out to its people, women such as the members of PaCLayFA were able to showcase their valuable contributions in food security and agricultural activities.
Situated in Brgy. Harrison, Paluan, Occidental Mindoro, PaCLayFA was born from an existing farmer cooperative named New Maduron Country Farm Cooperative (NMCFC). The cooperative is involved in agricultural activities such as corn, rice, and high-value crops production. The group was registered in the Cooperative Development Authority in 2007, but was only in full-swing operation in 2019.
In 2020, the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) bridged the women of the NMCFC to the DA-SAAD Program to be one of the beneficiaries of the Program’s Ready-to-Lay (RTL) Chicken Egg Production Project. The project includes RTL chicken, cages, feeds, and biologics. The women also underwent training under the DA, covering cultural management of RTL chicken, to ensure the readiness of the beneficiaries.
Later in the same year, the group kickstarted their egg production in December, catering small-scale orders from their community. The production started slow, but as the egg production increased and stabilized, they started supplying farm fresh eggs to their local market and enterprises like bakeries and sari-sari stores in nearby communities.
Ms. Lilibeth Gonzales, chairperson of PaCLayFA, shared that their experience as egg producers taught them to be independent agripreneurs. The project also strengthens the women’s bond.
“Malaki po ang naitulong [ng egg production project] sa grupo namin in terms of unity and cooperation among members. Natuto [rin] kami na maging independent…sa larangan ng pagpapatakbo ng negosyo,” Gonzales shared.
(The egg production project helps us a lot in terms of building our unity and cooperation among our members. We also learned how to be independent in managing our enterprise.)
Members get a discounted price for each tray of eggs so they can also earn as resellers and have access to affordable, fresh eggs for consumption. The chairperson also shared that there are members who are skilled in making salted eggs and leche flan using their produce which are other ways for the women to earn.
To provide more access to financial aid, the group also grants monetary loans with a maximum of Php 3,000.00 from their egg sales for its members with no interest.
“Bilang tulong [sa mga miyembro], wala pong interes [ang pautang]. Binabalik in naman po agad within a month, ‘yun po ang napagkasunduan namin,” the PaCLayFA chairperson explained.
(As a help for the members, our monetary loan does not have interest. Members return the money within the month as we have all agreed.)
Because of their hard work, DA Agri Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) and Fisheries Clustering and Consolidation Program (F2C2) MIMAROPA recognized the group as one worthy to receive interventions under the agency’s Balik Probinsya Program.
They will be awarded 1,000 heads of RTL chicken, through the NMCFC, to expand their enterprise and for sustainability as their group demonstrated good management in their agribusiness.
“Dahil sa management ng PaCLayFA through SAAD[‘s project], [mabibigyan] po ulit kami ng [intervention]...kundi dahil sa DA wala po kaming matatanggap na [project],” Gonzales shared.
(Because of PaCLayFA’s management through SAAD’s project, we will be receiving another intervention…if not for the DA, we will not be able to receive projects.)
"It's all about opportunity. Evidence shows that when women have opportunities, the yields on their farms increase -- also their incomes. Natural resources are better managed. Nutrition is improved. And livelihoods are more secured," FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva. (DSG/PIA MIMAROPA)