LEGAZPI CITY, ALBAY – Rice and livestock farmer Romeo Mendez, 68 years old, of Brgy. Carayrayan Tiwi, Albay, was distraught after a series of disaster damaged his crops. First was typhoon Nona in December 2015 followed by the Mayon eruption in January 2018 then typhoon Usman in December 2018 which left P343 million-worth of agricultural damage.    

But an epitome of Bicolanong “oragon,” he turned to the Department of Agriculture for rehabilitation assistance and short courses on how to recoup his losses. After participating in DA-Agricultural Training Institute’s (ATI) School on the Air on goat raising, Mendez found a new farm development opportunity with the Albay Small Ruminant Raisers Association’s (ASRRA) Enhancing Farm Capacity and Adoption of Nutrition Technology for Goat Production, a microenterprise funded under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).

The P1.28 million-worth enterprise development subproject aims to provide a sustainable livelihood income to and develop climate change resilience of goat raisers in Albay. The microenterprise focuses on herd improvement through the provision of breeder stocks and investment in equipment and machinery for proper pasture development. It also involves on-farm processing of cost-effective nutritious feed that can be stored as reserve during inclement weather or when conventional grazing systems are not applicable.

On September 25-26, 2019, PRDP-Bicol turned over 100 female does and five bucks worth a total of P650,000 to ASRRA. As member of the ASRRA, Mendez was among the 20 beneficiaries who received five ready-to-breed does. He may also employ one ready-to-breed Pure Buck, distributed to each cluster following a given time-frame.

“Salamat po sa programa ng ating gobyerno, sa Department of Agriculture Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) na nag-initiate para mabigyan kami ng kambing. Additional income namin yan. Bilang responsibilidad, aalagaan namin yan ng mabuti. Kung ano yung natutunan namin sa seminar – tamang pagpapakain, biosecurity ng mga hayop, pabahay, yun ang importante para maging productive ang mga alaga namin,” Mendez said.

Aside from the breeder stocks, ASRRA also received 10 units of portable silage container, one unit each of multi-tiller, pelletizer, and forage chopper for developing forage technologies to achieve sustainable nutrition and techno-adaptation for feeds. PRDP-Bicol I-REAP Business Development Officer Victoria Eugene Florece and DA-Bicol Agriculturist II Marianito Tesorero in collaboration with the Albay Provincial Veterinary Office also conduct regular monitoring and supervision to oversee the microenterprise venture.

“Gusto naming magpasalamat sa PRDP also sa Department of Agriculture, sa Albay Veterinary Office sa tulong na ibinigay sa amin para makakuha kami ng ganitong benefits na ngayon kami na mismo ang nagpapa-improve kung paano dumami ang mga hayop dito sa Albay lalung-lalo na dito sa amin pa lang,” Rolando Arevalo, president of ASRRA said.

The Enhancing Farm Capacity and Adoption of Nutrition Technology for Goat Production is one of the four I-REAP subprojects in Albay designed to strengthen and develop viable agriculture-based enterprises by providing technical, financial and infrastructure support to eligible groups in targeted areas within the identified priority value chain analysis-based Provincial Commodity Investment Plans. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA RAFIS V)