A 64-YEAR-OLD farmer in Negros Occidental has donated a portion of his income to the campaign of the Leni Robredo-Kiko Pangilinan tandem, believing that the two are the right leaders who can address the plight of farmers and fisherfolk in the country.
“Kahit maliit lang kita ko at binigay ko sa kampanya ni VP [Leni] at ni Sen [Kiko] sana makatulong ito dahil ayaw na ayaw ko talaga kay BBM. Magnanakaw yun at mas hihirap pa ang mga magsasaka kung siya ay manalo,” said farmer Jesus Jimenez, who now manages the Bacolod-based Negros Occidental Accredited Seed Producers Cooperative (NOASEPCO).
Jimenez said other farmer-members of the cooperative who are also against the later dictator’s son and namesake Ferdinand Marcos Jr. have voluntarily donated their share to the Leni-Kiko campaign.
Aside from sharing part of their income, Jimenez said the farmers group also sponsored a lugawan in their barangay.
Jimenez narrated his experience as a farmer when in 1988, he was inspired by his fisherman-father who was planting vegetables in their garden.
“At that time, fertilizer cost P600 to P800 per sack but now it’s P1,500 per sack. Farm labor used to cost P200 but now it’s P350. Mechanization such as plowing and tractors only cost around P1,000 in 2010 but now it costs P3,000 per hectare,” he said.
Jimenez said he and his fellow farmers established the cooperative in January 2000 and since then, the membership grew from 20 to 71 farmers today.
NOASEPCO focuses on the processing of different varieties of binhi and the growing of palay.
Currently, the cooperative has a contract with the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the direct purchasing scheme under the Sagip Saka Act.
Authored by Sen. Pangilinan, the Sagip Saka Act allows farmers and fishermen to sell their harvests and produce directly to the government agencies, including local government units.
Jimenez said they can now enjoy the institutional partnership with different government agencies at a price higher than those offered by the middlemen. He also said they receive payments immediately.
The farmer-entrepreneur added that he can now use the extra income he earns from Sagip Saka to help the children of his relatives through school as both his kids are already working professionals.
“Yan nga, may sure market kami sa government. Maganda ito dahil mas mabilis sila magbigay kesa sa traders at middlemen,” he said.