Basta Piddigueño, AgriHenyo: Consolidated Farm Production System
Municipality of Piddig, Ilocos Norte
Piddig is a third-class landlocked agricultural municipality in Ilocos Norte province and produces rice, tobacco, and corn as its main crops. It has 5,712ha of agricultural land area, 14,000ha forest area, and 3,371ha of protected forest zone. There are more than 4,600 farmers and 49 associations of irrigators across its 23 barangays.
Since farming is the main economic activity in the area, the Local Government of Piddig invested in its programs for agriculture. The local government initiated a partnership with 46 zanjeras and more than a thousand farmers for the rollout of the Basta Piddigueño, AgriHenyo: Consolidated Farm Production Program. In general, the program aims to: 1) increase farmers’ productivity and income; and 2) to ensure food security in the municipality by making food available and affordable.
The program banked on people’s participation in the management of the Consolidated Farm Production System (CFPS). Culturally, the people of Piddig are endowed with deep social connections which are manifested in irrigators associations called zanjeras. During the Spanish times, zanjeras in Piddig were informal associations of farmers whose objective was to maintain their sitio’s irrigation facilities. With the implementation of the CFPS, these social connections were further strengthened.
The program which started in 2016, showed significant impact to the income of the farmers. For instance, the yearly net income of a farmer under the program averages to Php 288,900.00 compared to the Php 127,750.00 average net income without the project.
Operationally, the program provided production and marketing assistance to small farmers - farm machineries and transport vehicle services, farm inputs such as hybrid seeds, organic/inorganic fertilizers, pesticides and weedicides, and other inputs, as well as crop insurance are all included in the menu of assistance farmers can avail from the program.
And there are several key elements that set Piddig’s program apart from usual agricultural programs. First, it gave importance in understanding the whole value chain of rice production and ensuring that initiatives are centered on the benefit of the farmers. This helped the proponents of the program map its stakeholders and plan for their initiatives. With the picture of the whole process and a long-term vision, the implementers realized that the concept of economies of scale may apply to them, where fixed cost of production will be lower with the increased number of production.
Second, it provided opportunities for collaboration and consolidation of efforts through the creation of the Piddig Basi Multipurpose Cooperative (PBMC). Through this effort, they were able to develop a larger base and establish a bigger capital as a result of extended networks and combined assets. The PBMC acts as the umbrella organization that represents all stakeholders and beneficiaries of the program.
Third, it transformed the role of PBMC members, farmers and zanjera operators, from clients to partners with their public-private partnership. Under a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between LGU-Piddig and PBMC, the members are now empowered to actively engage in the management of the Cooperative, including in its different consolidated farm production system-related enterprises such as the Rice Processing Center (RPC) and the Savings and Loan.
The strong relationship of zanjera members with one another and with their farmer members is precisely the seed that Piddig LGU capitalized in the implementation of the CFPS. The farmer members of the zanjeras provided their significant support and organized their farms into compact production areas for rice and high value commercial crops which allowed the program to level up the role of the zanjeras beyond maintenance of irrigation facilities.