Farmer-members of the Tiblawan Fisherfolk and Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TIFFARMCO) in Tiblawan, Davao Oriental found ways to possibly contribute to the high demand for mangoes.
A Community-based Participatory Action Research (CPAR) project on mango production of the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), which launched in 1999, has led to the fulfillment of the long dreams of Tiblawan farmers.
A multidisciplinary team of researchers from the Southern Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center (SMIARC) with support from its local government (LGU) has chose Barangay Tiblawan as the pilot site for the project due to the presence of marginalized fishing and farming community where the land, although arable, is idle and planted mainly for corn.
Today, the coop has 135 farmer-members, 77 of which are CPAR cooperators. Each cooperator planted an average of half a hectare to hectares mangoes.
As contribution to the coop, the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Unit (DA-RFU) 11 joined forces with the CPAR project and constructed a multipurpose dryer, corn mill and building facilities.
The project provides Carabao variety of grafted mango seedlings and technical assistance to farmer-cooperators. The farmers would have to pay them back once they are established in selling their harvests.
Adelito Caballes, one of the successful CPAR-cooperators in Tiblawan, attributes his success to the technical assistance provided when he was starting. The high demand for Carabao mangoes also helped in boosting his market opportunities. As a farmer-cooperator, he was granted 200 Carabao mangoes as planting materials for his 2-ha farm.
It was not successful at first, Caballes admitted, as the coop experienced hurdles during its first few years. Unexpectedly, the trees hardly bore fruit after five years. It was only in August 2006 that their long-wait reaped sweet success. This sweet harvest earned Mang Adelito P131,000 from the 20,000 kilos of mango he harvested. Soon his coco-lumber house was renovated with concrete house. He was also able to send his children to school.
SMIARC provided Mang Adelito a small herd of sheep to graze and weed the mangoes when they were still young. This offered additional income and weeder for his now growing mango farm.
Rolando V. Kintana, assistant head of the Research Coordination Division (RCD) of BAR said “CPAR has contributed a lot to the farmers in Tiblawan not only to uplift their economic condition but more importantly, it has empowered them.”
“Planting mangoes offers a bright future for the farmers and the community. As the mangoes grow older, they produce more and better quality fruits providing them high income. When housewives become experts in mango processing, this would further result to value adding of their crop and would create more jobs for the community,” Kintana added.