“When our barangay was selected as a community partner of the livelihood program of ADRA Philippines through the SARAM (Sustainable and Resilient Agribusiness Development in Mercedes) project, I was one of the chosen 30 beneficiary partners from our barangay”, says Maricris Alfonso Paday, 38 years old of Brgy. Del Rosario, Mercedes in Camarines Norte.
The SARAM project, funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in coordination with ADRA New Zealand, aims to help people who are living below the poverty threshold level like Maricris.
Under the project, homemakers are taught better practices of vegetable organic farming and are given gardening tools (such as shovel, rake, hoe, fork, sprinkle, sprayer, set of trowels and seedling trays) to develop their food source and start their livelihood.
The trainings are focused on vegetable production, concoction making, composting using African Night Crawler, integrated pest management.
Beneficiaries are also involved in leadership trainings in order to developed good relationship with the people and the community.
Maricris says, “Although in the beginning of the project, I joined the group because somebody said that the project will give residential lots and assistance to those who are in need.I ended up participating in every activity and training of the project until I found myself doing planting and leading the one third on the group. My husband who was skeptical ended up joining me in selling our harvested vegetables.”
Since the start of the SARAM project in 2013, the Local government of Barangay Del Rosario passed a resolution stating that every household must do gardening in their backyard and every vacant land should be used as “purok” garden as proposed by the project.
The vegetable organic farming serves as an opening wedge to every household of the Barangay to engage and love backyard gardening.
“Truly, ADRA Philippines is a gift from God, and a big blessing to all people of Mercedes!” Maricris says.