SLP Project Development Officer Noeme Egay with the harvested Strawberries in Barangay Dado

Koronadal City – In the Municipality of Alamada, clustered in the province of North Cotabato and particularly in Barangay Dado and Barangay Rangayen, these barangays are now known for producing strawberries due to its weather condition that is suitable and favorable to strawberry production but because of the scarcity of knowledge, limited supplies of planting materials, technical know-how, water supply, high market demand and the local farmers the community did not venture to expand production. Since strawberry is suitable in the area and the pantawid members are welling to produce strawberry as a group enterprise  Sitio Dulao of Barangay Dado was then identified for strawberry production with considerations that strawberry is also an added tourist attraction because the site is adjacent and stone throw to Asik-asik  falls, Sustainable Livelihood Program became the community’s generator of opportunity and the “so berry sweet story” begun.   The Strawberry production  project of Strawberry Sustainable Livelihood program association of the pantawid Pilipino program participants from Sitio Dulao, Barangay Dado, Municipality of Alamada, Province of Cotabato is composed of seventy six (76) pantawid beneficiaries that comprises (1) one male and (2) female subsequently the SLPA project is a woman lead project with unified aim of increasing the income of each member of the association and encouraging all the members to impart its enhanced knowledge as well to participate during production, planting and weeding activities as well as to increase the economic activity to the community through application of diversified farming methods to  produce more crops and leading to the increase their income. Such will also encourage the farmers to engage in combined production and sense of belongingness through community enterprise.

The project cost is Php 1,069,239.00 wherein utilized for the procurement of Solar powered water irrigation system thus, water is sourced out from the ASIK-ASIK FALLS, planting materials (strawberry seedlings) as well as organic fertilizers and pesticides. Community that resides within the project area benefitted the potable water for drinking and some other uses. Prior to the establishment of the projects, the community would Fitch water from asik-asik falls which is very stiff with 1,500 concreted patch steps and has a half kilometer stretch. It was a burden and among the community’s agony, but now it’s a different story. SLPA’s produced strawberry fruits are sold in the project site for P300.00/kilo and the strawberry runners for P30.00/pc and the association is currently initiating value adding through processing of homemade organic and no preservative Strawberry jam. The association has a twice a week weeding schedule to clean the garden and SLPA meetings to update the project income and status. The association has employed two (2) from its members as Garden keeper and maintenance.

What is good enough is that, there’s no personal interest and issues among officers and members of the association. All decisions were taken well through consultations to the members during the monthly meeting and the financial reports and records is open to all the members.  The members are well informed on the monthly income of the strawberry garden and the production. In fact, this is a pilot project of the Sustainable Livelihood in the Province of Cotabato aligned to agri-business with the use of Solar-powered water irrigation system, next to the Organic vegetable production in the Municipality of Tampakan in the Province of South Cotabato wherein will be using Solar-powered water irrigation system too. In a year time timeline, return of investment will be clear and the project is replicable.