Top to Bottom: SHeG members in Brgy. San Jose (eggplant producers), Brgy. Carot (pechay producers), and Cabungan (onion producers).

“We are no poor now!” This is how some of the Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries of Anda, Pangasinan proudly describe themselves now that they can see the fruits of their sacrifices after investing into organic agriculture.

Through the Self Help Group (SHeG) initiated by the Local Government of Anda with the supervision of Head Social Worker Jowey Celzo, these beneficiaries are now capable of managing their own savings and provide financial assistance to each in need member through microfinance.

Each member contributes Php20.00 a month within a year and being kept in a box for safe keeping. All the members take turns in keeping the money and another member holds  the key.

With the Php75,000.00 capital assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the savings of each SHeG, Brgys. San Jose, Carot and Cabungan decided to invest their savings into agriculture especially in producing eggplant, pechay, and onion respectively through the trophobiotic agriculture introduced by Mr. Robert Dela Cruz, Technical Consultant from Certified Container Gardeners and Tiangge Association (CCGTA) from Teresa, Rizal.

According to Mr. Dela Cruz, trophobiotic agriculture is growing vegetables with no pesticide but pure organic. It was then really hard to introduce the technology because of water scarcity in the locality but with continuous motivation, all the beneficiary-members were encouraged.

“Mahirap ang pagtatanim pero dahil sa naituro sa amin na teknolohiya, madali na ito para sa amin at nakakatanggal ng stress” (Agriculture is really hard but with the technology which was introduced to us, it became easy for us and it relieves stress.) says Lalaine Dizon, 49, Bookwriter 1 of Brgy. San Jose.

Michelle Cabigon, 28, from Brgy. Carot also claimed “Mas mabuti na ang sumapi sa SHeG kaysa sa mangutang sa iba.” (It is better to be a SHeG member than to ask money to others).   

At least 8 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in Brgy. San Jose have maintained a 3,000 square-meter eggplant farm yielding at least 10 kilos a week sold at Php2,500.00.

Meanwhile Brgy. Cabungan just had their first onion harvest this month in a 3,000 square-meter lot with the consent of the owner. And they are now excited to sell their produce to the market and to their neighbors.

“Namangha nga yong mga kapitbahay namin na hindi naniniwala na magtatagal itong pagtatanim namin ng sibuyas.” (Our neighbors who discourages us before in planting onions are now amazed with us.) Rizalyn Cardeno, 37, Parent Leader from Brgy. Cabungan proudly says. (By: Jaesem Ryan A. Gaces, Administrative Assistant III, Listahanan/NHTS-PR).