At least 32 farmers in the Siargao Island town of Santa Monica embarked on pineapple production earlier this week after receiving aid from the Department of Agriculture in the Caraga Region (DA-13).
The farmers, who formed themselves into the Abad Santos Farmers Association (ASFA), received 15,000 pineapple planting materials under the DA’s Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) program.
Johnny Arlan, the ASFA president, said aside from the planting materials, DA also provided 100 sacks of fertilizers and farm tools to support their project.
The group also expects the delivery of a multi-cultivator machine to boost production.
“This is the first time that we ventured into pineapple production. The DA also prepared us before the start of the project by providing us with training and education on pineapple production last June,” Arlan said in a phone interview Friday.
Leveraging tourism sector
He said the group expects to make their first harvest a year after planting, adding that they also seek to leverage the booming tourism sector on Siargao Island to expand their market.
Ariel Obillos, SAAD community development officer in Siargao Island, noted that pineapple is suited in Santa Monica based on preliminary studies.
“The number of hotels, resorts, and restaurants in Siargao Island, especially in General Luna town are our target markets. With the return of the tourism industry on the island after the pandemic and the typhoon in 2021, we are seeing big opportunities for the ASFA project to succeed,” Obillos said in a separate interview Friday.
The current buying price of pineapple on the island, he added, ranges from PHP70 to PHP80 per kilo.
The support for the Santa Monica farmers is provided under the SAAD Phase 2 implementation this year with some PHP1.59 million worth of assistance. (PNA)