By Zac B. Sarian
BOARD MEETING – Members of the Board of Directors of the Mallig FST Multi-Purpose Cooperative are shown during one of their board meetings. In 2003, starting with just 19 members who were trained by Syngenta on improved rice production, the members have now increased to about 500 members. They started their co-op with a capitalization of just P38,000. As of 2016, the share capitalization has reached P5.2 million with total assets of R25 million.
HAPPY ARMURE USERS – At left is Andres Eda while at right is Domingo Joson. Both of them have significantly increased their rice harvest with the use of Armure, a Syngenta product that protects the plants from fungal disease and at the same time boosts growth. Eda was a former chairman of the board of Mallig FST Multi-Purpose Cooperative while Joson is the current chairman.
HEAVIER GRAINS – Members of Mallig FST MPC who spray Armure on their rice plants report that the grains are heavier because they are fully filled unlike when no Armure is applied. Domingo Joson reported that with Armure, he harvested 8 to 10 tons palay per hectare compared to only 4 to 5 tons before adopting the Armure technology of Syngenta.
COOPERATIVE HEADQUARTERS – Photo shows the headquarters of the Mallig FST Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Mallig, Isabela. The co-op has been profitable during the past years. In 2016, it had a net income of R2.1 million. Total assets have reached P25 million as of 2016.
ORANGE GUAVA IN TAIWAN – A group of journalists and Filipino tourists visited a guava farm with 16 varieties in Taiwan sometime last year. One notable variety has a very attractive orange flesh when ripe. The guava trees are maintained at a low height for easy management – pruning, bagging and harvesting. Photo shows Jane Chen and Ena Javier posing with the fruit of the orange guava.
ORANGE GUAVA PROPAGATED IN TERESA – Seedlings of the orange-fleshed guava from Taiwan are now produced at the Sarian Farm in Teresa, Rizal. The sliced fruit has a luscious and tempting appearance because of its distinct orange color. The fruit which may weigh more than 150 grams is juicy and sweet. Guavas have short gestation period. Seedling plants may start fruiting in just one to two years after planting. Besides suitable for planting in the ground, it can be grown in containers that are provided with rich organic media.
Even ordinary farmers will succeed if they are equipped with the right technologies in agriculture. Just like the 19 farmers in Mallig, Isabela who were trained by experts of Syngenta in growing rice. Syngenta, of course, is the multinational company that is engaged in distribution of hybrid rice and other seeds as well as various crop protection products.
As far back as the early years of 2000, Syngenta had been empowering ordinary farmers through its program called Farmers Support Team (FST), teaching them the right techniques to increase their yields and income from crop farming. The program also linked the farmers to the Department of Agriculture so they can also benefit from the government programs in agriculture.
In 2003, Syngenta helped 19 farmers who finished their FST training to form the Mallig FST Multi-Purpose Cooperative with a modest starting capital of R38,000. With the continuous support from Syngenta, the co-op prospered so that today it boasts of a membership of almost 500 individuals. Its paid up share capital has reached R5.2 million as of 2016. Its total assets of R7.3 million in 2010 had increased to R25 million as of 2016.
The co-op headed by Domingo Joson has been profitable. For instance, its net income of R569,000 in 2010 rose to R2.1 million in 2016. And so, in 2014, Mallig MPC acquired its own house and lot with a rice mill worth R1.9 million.
The Department of Agriculture, recognizing the able management of the cooperative by its officials, granted Mallig FST MPC one combine harvester which it can use for harvesting rice for a fee. The co-op also acquired another combine harvester and a vehicle for hauling farm produce, both of which generate additional income.
The cooperative has also made money from selling farm inputs like the crop protection products from Syngenta. The cooperative does not only make money by selling the Syngenta products and other inputs. Equally important is that the farmers who apply the products to their farms increase their yield and, of course, their profits.
One Syngenta product that has been producing wonders for the farmers is Armure, a formulation that prevents as well as cures fungal diseases like sheath blight and dirty panicle in rice. Armure also boosts plant growth.
In 2010, when Syngenta initiated a highest-yield contest called “Lakas Ani” that helped increase sales and incomes of the farmers, the farmers used Armure as their primary tool to boost yields.
Armure really increased their yields. For instance, Domingo Joson, Mallig FST MPC chairman, said that before using Armure he usually got 5 to 6 tons of palay per hectare. With Armure, he was able to harvest almost 10 tons per hectare. Other farmers like Andres Eda, 47, who cultivates six hectares, also reported wonderful observations. He treated his rice plants with Armure two times, first when they were 40 to 45 days old, and second, when they were 60 to 75 days old. His rice plants treated with Armure were not attacked by fungal diseases and were very green and robust.The grains were also heavier because they were fully filled. Before using Armure, he got only 5 to 6 tons per hectare. This increased to 7 to 8 tons with Armure treatment. Eda was also a former chairman and board of dirctor of the cooperative.
Now you see, even ordinary farmers if given the right guidance will succeed in improving their incomes and their lives. Such is the case of the founders of the Mallig FST Multi-Purpose Cooperative, their members and customers.