Zamboanguita, a ftflh class municipality in Negros Oriental is composed of ten barangays, five of which are coastal and the remaining are upland. Around 3,000 farming and fishing families fell below the estimated poverty line of Php 46,000 per annum for a family of five in the municipality. To alleviate poverty, promote food security and ensure market accessibility, the local government implemented the Comprehensive Agricultural Development Program with three major components: (1) Daruhan sa Matag Mag-uuma; (2) Libreng Sakay; and the (3) Barato Baroto.
The first one is a carabao dispersal scheme where marginal farming households with no working animal are provided with a carabao in order to till their farm on time, expand their cultivated areas and save one fourth of their gross produce in terms of rental to the owner of the working animal. Coupled with the distribution of certified seeds and access to the municipality’s fertilizer loan program payable after harvest, farmers’ yield increased from 15 to 60 cavans per planting season. The second one is the provision of two stake trucks to the upland farmers during market days to transport their farm products to the Municipal Livestock and Flea Market.
Access to transportation and markets gave the farmers the incentive to plant more. Local folks also use these vehicles for burials, emergencies and other community activities. Maintenance cost is shared by the municipal government and the barangays. The last one is an interest-free loan of Php 2500-3000 extended to marginal fisherfolk with no fishing boat (baroto) payable at Php 3 daily for 2 1/2 years. This gave the fisherfolk the opportunity to fish anytime they want
and save on rental fees for boats. It resulted in an improved fish catch from two kilos to six kilos a day. This development program marked the pursuit of a better life because of its simplicity and direct impact on the needs of the farmers and fisherfolk in the municipality.
This program is recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Programs in the 1999 Galing Pook Awards.