Landbank of the Philippines in Laguna has opened a financial facility for malunggay growers through the Cooperative Livelihood Assistance Program.
Last June 24, the Enterprise and Sustainable Livelihood Multi-purpose Cooperative, together with the Laguna provincial government and the Sangguniang Kabataan, unveiled the project entitled "Miracle Malunggay: Kikita Ka Na, Lulusog Ka Pa" in Magdalena, Laguna. It was the first ever malunggay nursery funded by Landbank-Laguna.
According to Dolly Libunao from the Development Assistance Center Area 4B of Landbank-Laguna, their head office is already conducting a research dedicated to malunggay. Landbank is also working on its Development Advocacy Program to help finance livelihood projects like this one.
"Kung ang isang kooperatiba ay hindi makapasa sa regular lending program ng Landbank, mayroon pang advocacy program kung saan kailangan lamang na magkaroon ng marketing program ang income generating project, para sigurado ang pagbalik ng pera," said Libunao.
Wilmer Lebria, chairman of ESLMPC, said that he wants to propagate malunggay farming because of the vegetable's health and nutritional value, as well as its agribusiness potential since coop members would gain additional income.
This project also aims to teach the people of Laguna the importance of malunggay. "Gusto kong imulat ang Sangguniang Kabataan, ang mga local government units na mag-engage sa livelihood na hindi lang basta kikita kundi lulusog pa." Lebria added.
ESLMPC converted 3-½ hectares of unutilized land into a malunggay nursery and seedbank that will provide for the seed requirement of malunggay plantations in the second and third districts of Laguna. The local government of Laguna provided logistical support and technical assistance to the project.
The coop has been tapped to plant malunggay in over 60 hectares of land. This is apart from the 40-hectares in Sta Maria, 8 hectares in Majayjay, 3 hectares in Pila, and 2 hectares in Sta. Cruz, among others. SECURA International is also reported to have acquired the harvest of the nursery.
Laguna is also one of the supporters of the BIONet-BIOCommerce project of the DA-Biotechnology Program Office. No less than Laguna Governor Teresita Lazaro herself confirmed this during a seminar-workshop conducted last year. Such support includes disseminating information on the livelihood opportunities that biotechnology provides, participation and support of municipalities in BIOCommerce activities and active membership in Biotechnology Information and Organization Network.
The provincial government believes this will contribute to attaining food security, help farmers and fishermen to have additional income and livelihood opportunities and boost agricultural modernization.
Lazaro says with the BIONet-BIOCommerce program, the quality of life of her constituents may eventually be upgraded.
Each district of Laguna will embark on a BIOCommerce – Malunggay project, now a priority of the province, and the inauguration of ESLMPC's malunggay nursery actually jumpstarted it.
Through the wonders of biotechnology, the processing of matured malunggay seeds into edible and essential oil, biofuel feedstock, animal feed ingredient, and water purifier is now available. The many applications of malunggay is one big draw for investors and poor farmers and the marginalized.
The program was attended by local government officials led Dennis Lazaro, the provincial administrator of Laguna, and by officers of the DA-BPO, baranggay officials of Magdalena, Sangguniang Kabataan leaders and executives of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Laguna and the Philippine Information Agency, health and nutrition scholars, women, farmers, and local residents. (biolife news service)