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Therma Marine provides livelihood skills training to upland Maco farmers
May 12, 2016
Through the joint livelihood skills training program of AboitizPower subsidiary Therma Marine, Aboitiz Foundation and the provincial Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); 100 Mapaang corn farmers in Maco, Compostela Valley no longer have to rely on the P28,000 they earn from each harvest, toiling on 2,500 square meters of land.The farmers learned to grow organic onions, which allow them to earn as much as P160,000 for 2,000 kilos of high-value onions they harvested from the 2,500 square meters of land they set aside for the endeavor.Jinglyn Ragase, one of the first 100 farmer-beneficiaries, thanked Therma Marine for the opportunity to grow organic onions, which sell at an average of P80 per kilo. She said that her family’s income from growing corn, which is harvested once every 4 months during favorable weather, is a far cry from onion growing.Onions are also harvested once every four months.Ragase said that income from growing corn was not enough to provide for her family’s basic needs. She pointed out that almost 35 percent of the income from a harvest of corn goes to buying seeds for the next planting season.During the livelihood training program on organic onion farming, farmers received starter kits to enable them to begin planting right away.The training teaches farmers to switch to growing onions as their main produce or to practice intercropping. After the first harvest, the farmers can use selected bulbs for the next planting.Farmers also have the option to establish onion nurseries and sell the bulbs to fellow farmers.During the hands-on training last February 23, DSWD OIC provincial coordinating officer Michael Marqueso said that through the program, the government hopes to lessen Mindanao’s dependence on onion imports from Tarlac.Barangay Mapaang is located seven kilometers away from Therma Marine’s power barge moored in Maco, a first income class municipality about 60 kilometers from downtown Davao City. Mapaang is an upland community accessible to the rest of the town through a steep farm-to-market road.