Many people in Masbate are hesitant to become a farmer, simply because resident farmers in the province have been associated to living in poverty.
But here is a story of an ordinary person who survived a financial storm through the help of a simple vegetable farming program that DMPC-CSR initiated and started early this year in coordination with the Mobo-Municipal Agriculture Office.
Nathaniel Aban, Sr. is one of DMPC-CSR beneficiaries in backyard vegetation. He is an artist and carpenter for a lengthy time since he was eighteen years old, painting homes and buildings from town to town and sketching portraits for additional income. He is a visual artist, in his own right, doing fiesta sash, teaching devices, school murals and projects. He is also a father to eight children and a husband to Adenita Aban and currently a Barangay Kagawad in Barangay Tabuc, Mobo.
It all started when typhoon Yolanda struck his family’s agricultural land, bringing down 67 banana maturing/bearing plants and a number of fruit bearing trees. The area was deeply flooded and cleansed away. As their gold- producing land went gray, and so did their finances. The domino effect trickled over food, clothing, fare, tuition, rice and other necessities.
Mr. Aban did go back to the drawing board, sketching how his family can recuperate and handle the adversity brought about by the storm. Of course, the easiest way is to borrow for repairs and foodstuff allowance. But Mr. Aban did not buckle under the weight of the storm’s aftermath.
He heard from his neighbors that there’s a program named “Akbay” that lends capital for those who are willing to invest in agricultural livelihood. However, the process will take long to comply with voluminous documents required for admission. He, then, was referred to DMPC-CSR backyard vegetation which is “pay when able” program. He passed the screening and was granted the PhP8,000 plus loan.
With a PhP4,200 honorarium as public servant which goes to his co-barangay residents during emergencies and a meager income from seasonal artistry and carpentry, Mr. Aban couldn’t definitely support his family.
“Before, I had to borrow cash for us to survive for a day, even if it is 20% interest rate, just to do something as the head of the family, but now I am the one who’s lending, even at night somebody knocks on the door borrowing for vegetables,” he said, thanking DMPC for the working animal (carabao) dispersal program, vegetable seedlings and farming utensils it handed over to the beneficiaries.
“Life is all about perseverance and nothing happens to you if you are impatient,” he said. We don’t hesitate to pray for our situation to turn around but these prayers should be coupled with hard work and industry.”
“Our vegetable garden is not only a great source of income, it brought back dignity to my family. Before, we were always at the mercy of our neighbors whom we borrowed money from for our daily expenses. Our time and energy were consumed waiting and looking for people who can lend us money. Now, we are spending time and energy cultivating our garden knowing that we will just wait for a few days before the next harvest.”
“We will repay DMPC the soonest time for the initial capital it initially borne-out. Doing our responsibility to pay will deepen its trust in us,” Mr. Aban said smiling.
Mr. Aban and his wife devote much of their time in their garden. They don’t believe that farmers are working poor. They believe that there is greater opportunity when work is coupled with perseverance and diligence. They will never prioritize vices such as gambling, habitual drinking and smoking, which according to them, are the real pests that hamper farmers to attain financial stability and progress.