The busy clucking of more than a hundred chickens is what progress sounds like for a fisherfolk association in Barangay Lipat-on, Calatrava town in Negros Occidental.
The Lipat-on Integrated Small Fisherfolk Association is picking up the pace in egg production capability nearly six months after receiving P283,920 worth of chicken egg production project from the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) of the Department of Agriculture in Western Visayas, a press release from DA-SAAD said.
The DA-SAAD 6 granted the association three sets of ready-to-lay pullet, or 150 heads with cage, amounting to P150,000 under the FY 2020 budget. The group also received three sets of drugs and biologics worth P15,000, three wheelbarrows – P10,500, 30 bags of layer feeds – P57,000, 240 egg trays – P12,000, three weighing scales – P15,000, six water drums – P18,000, and six rolls of water hose – P57,000, as part of the project intervention package.
LISFA chairman Dario Lumanog said they started the SAAD poultry livelihood project on December 12, 2020. The group, with 54 members, agreed to put the chicken in a farm owned by Dario’s brother, Rolando, who is a member of the Board of Directors of the association. The chickens started laying eggs in January and production went on full swing in March, the press release said.
LISFA was able to produce an average of three trays of eggs or 90 pieces per day, and around 2,700 eggs in a month. The products were then sold to households in their community and neighboring barangays at P180 per tray, which translates to a monthly gross income of P16,200.
LISFA members rely solely on fishing as a source of income. They decided to form an association to avail themselves of various government projects. However, LISFA became inactive in the previous years, which prompted Dario, a retired Philippine Marine officer, to rebuild their group.
On July 6, 2020, LISFA’s officers were reorganized and Dario was elected as the new president. Eventually, they were registered as an association with the Department of Labor and Employment on December 7.
Rolando, who has been chosen as the poultry caretaker, said they were able to properly handle the feeding, harvesting, and cleaning of the poultry house through the IEC materials provided by SAAD.
He said they have anticipated that since poultry production is a sensitive venture, they must ensure that the chickens are free from pollution, noise disturbances, and other environmental issues.
He also cited challenges that the association met and overcame, such as the rearing of the laying hens at the beginning of the project.
“Days after the delivery of the chickens, some got weak, sick, and eventually died maybe because of stress during travel. I separated those who have respiratory problem. I also checked them from time to time. So far, we have 23 mortalities and the rest recovered,” he added.
LISFA secretary and bookkeeper, Riza Montes, said that rather than a profit-oriented mindset, the association instilled a customer-oriented mentality. She said the records are presented during their regular meeting every first Monday of the month. The layer chickens are also properly monitored to ensure a maximum productive life.
Dario recognized that SAAD’s livelihood project has been a huge help for both the fisherfolk and the consumers. “We are very thankful for the projects we received from the DA-SAAD. Our association started from zero but now the lives of our members are starting to improve.”
To make the project sustainable, the association formulated a just and fair compensation for its members. The association will receive a 50 percent share and the balance will be distributed to the members, caretaker, and owner of the poultry farm.
LISFA also aims to expand the poultry area and have additional layer chickens to increase egg production and sustain the project.
Dario said they envisioned LISFA as not just a fishing-reliant group but also as a top producer of eggs not just in their barangay but in the municipality of Calatrava and even in the neighboring towns and cities, the press release added.*