THE UNSUNG HEROES: Cabilauan Farmers Association

Written by: Analiza S. Pacheco

In the vast fields and quiet country side of New Lucena, a group of dedicated individuals toil day in and day out, ensuring that our plate is filled with nutritious food. These unsung heroes are non-other than the FARMERS. In New Lucena, Iloilo one of the determined groups is the Cabilauan Farmers Association (CFA) with official address at Brgy. Cabilauan New Lucena, Iloilo with 96 registered members as of January 2023. It is registered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Accredited under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) of the Department of Agriculture. It is likewise a recognized member of the Barangay Development Council (BDC) and IPAT- SIAD Program Planning, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Team (PIME). At present, the association is responsible of administering the Bagsakan Center in Cabilauan and awarded with Farm Machineries from RCEF. The members of CFA are individuals who plays a crucial role in our society by cultivating crops, raising livestock, and sustaining the backbone of New Lucena agricultural industry.

According to Mr. Cecilio E. Niego, President of CFA they have faced numerous challenges that can impact their livelihoods and the overall supply of their product. Furthermore, the unpredictable weather patterns, such as droughts, floods, and extreme temperatures, can devastate crops and livestock. Pests and diseases, pose constant threats, requiring farmers to employ various strategies to protect their yields. Additionally, market fluctuations and price volatility can make it difficult for farmers to secure fair prices for their products.

 With the vital intervention of Solution Ecosystems Activator (SEA), Inc. by capacitating the members of the CFA, they are now more empowered and recognized as one of the strong farmer associations in the municipality of New Lucena. Through SEA supported by LifeBank Foundation, Inc., they were able to avail several trainings on Sustainable and Organic Agriculture (Concoction and Organic Fertilizer preparation) Lakbay Aral to Other Farms, Project Proposal Making, and participation to Strategic Planning at the municipal level.  

Despite the current challenges the farmer sector is facing, they are still courageous of embracing innovation and appropriate technology. They constantly seek ways to improve efficiency and productivity on their farms, and through their linkage with the SEA they are able to come up with a proposal for their project called “PAKBET AND MORE”. This proposed project will establish a Demo Farm on Organic Vegetable Production where in the goal of this project is to produce healthy but with reasonable price of fresh vegetables for its family member and other community folks and even for the entire town. 

Because of this wonderful vision and the unwavering dedication of CFA they are able to access fund worth P1.3 million in order to materialize this project, from the Life Bank Foundation who is generous enough to grant fund for the realization of the proposed project. CFA is grateful being part of the SEA IPAT-SIAD Program for they were able to widen their network and linkages and made them an empowered association.

Recognizing the vital role farmers play in our society, it is crucial that we support their efforts. The government, Non-Profit Organization such as Solution Ecosystems Activator (SEA Inc.), Life Bank Foundation, and individuals can contribute by providing access to resources, knowledge, and financial support. Investments in agricultural research and development can help farmers stay ahead of challenges and adopt innovative practices.

Moreover, consumers can support local farmers by patronizing their products thereby ensuring a fair and sustainable food system.

Farmers are the unsung heroes who work tirelessly to feed our growing population. Their dedication, resilience, and commitment to sustainable practices are essential for ensuring food security and healthy planet. As key player in our society, it is our responsibility to recognize and support the efforts of farmers. By doing so, we can create a sustainable and resilient agricultural sector that meets the needs of the present and future generations. Let us celebrate and appreciate the hard work of our farmers, for they truly are the backbone of our society.

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