This farm in Pagsanjan empowers banana farmers through sustainable agri-livelihood project
What comes into your mind when you hear the word magsasaka? Do you imagine old people with grief-stricken faces? For Raymund Aaron, banana chief at Villa Socorro Farm, this has always been the image of agriculture in our country. “We often look at our farmers as kawawa (pitiful) and mahirap (poor), so no one really wants to pursue a career in farming,” he said.
Villa Socorro Farm is an 11-hectare land located at the foot of the Sierra Madre mountain range bounded by the Balanac river. Their vision is to create a community of empowered farmers who live with pride and dignity.
They began manufacturing banana chips in 2008 to help over 200 farmers who started planting saba within the neighboring towns of their farm. They purchase their produce at a higher rate compared to commercial markets to provide them with a sustainable livelihood. To date, they’ve employed 71 personnel for the manufacturing facility, farm tourism site, and sales and marketing office.
They manufacture the banana chips in their own facility inside their farm. Fresh bananas are peeled, sliced, cooked, and packed all within the day to ensure quality.
“Bringing this level of employment and sustainable income to the countryside has a big impact to the community. They can now take care of their families without going all the way to the big cities. Countryside industries must really be promoted in our country,” Raymund said.
Raymund aims to set the groundwork so that the next generation of farmers doesn’t have to go through the same difficulties that today’s farmers face. He wants farming to be seen as something to be proud of, a profession that will provide for themselves and their families.
Asked about the most rewarding thing about being in agriculture, Raymund said it’s about being able to provide hope to the most often neglected sector.
Support Villa Socorro Farm’s advocacy by visiting their farm or buying their Sabanana Chips available at Rustan’s, SM Kultura and SM Snack Exchange, Dell’s Food Hall, Binalot, and Sinangag Express. To know more about their efforts to promote sustainable livelihood in the agricultural sector, visit their website. – Rappler.com
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