NOT HINDERED BY AGE. Age is not an excuse to be supportive to the government's reforestation program.
This is proven by a 65-year old woman living in a rural barangay of Peñablanca, Cagayan.
Editha Manuel chairs the Green Valley Bical-Baliuag Upland Farmers Association, a people’s organization (PO) beneficiary of the National Greening Program (NGP).
In her first meeting with DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn C. Bambalan, Manuel narrated that they used to practice monocropping before NGP was implemented. "Pero nung pumasok ang NGP, maganda pala yung may inaasahang iba," she continued.
The DENR has partnered with the association for a comprehensive site development of cacao plantation in 2017 and 2018. The project covers 105 hectares in Barangay Baliuag. The PO is responsible in seedling production, social mobilization, establishment of hedgerows, and plantation maintenance and protection.
“Bilang isang magsasaka, pagkatapos ng anihan ay wala nang gagawin. Kaya kailangan may ibang pagkaabalahan as additional source of income,” Manuel said.
With her produce of bananas which she planted as hedgerows in her NGP plantation, Manuel is now earning through her “Ate Edith’s Banana Chips.”
According to Manuel, there are times that freshly harvest bananas are low-priced. She decided to venture on banana chips processing to ensure that she gains from her produce.
The PO chairperson narrated how she was able to converge with other government agencies for technical capability trainings and for the packaging of her products.
Director Bambalan thanked Manuel for supporting the reforestation program of the DENR. “Sana pagbutihin pa ninyo at pagandahin ang inyong plantasyon para pagbalik namin ay namumunga na ang inyong tanim na cacao,” she enthused.
She assured Manuel that the DENR will assist her in marketing her products.
“Masaya po kami na nabibisita po kami ng officials. Nararamdaman po namin na may care kayo sa amin,” Manuel said in closing.#