MMDC livelihood programs: Building stronger communities
In first photo, falcata project beneficiary Emalyn Antad is all smiles while posing beside a growing falcata tree. Second photo shows "sikad-sikad" beneficiary Rene Mindaña while in third photo, Aldred Plaza is seen operating the rotavator donated by MMDC to Parang Farmers Livestock and Poultry Research Association.
SURIGAO DEL SUR is known for its vast agricultural lands, rich aqua-marine resources and enormous forestland teeming with biodiversity.
Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation (MMDC) build its livelihood programs around the vast potentials of these natural resources, utilizing the community's existing strengths and knowledge to implement sustainable livelihood programs.
To help communities increase their control of their natural resources, MMDC also assisted local growers establish their own abaca, falcata, coconut, cacao plantations.
The growers, who are from six villages in Cantilan and Carrascal, were also provided training to increase their skills, knowledge and resources in managing the lands they till.
In 2017, MMDC spent P2.1 million as initial seed capital intended for the trainings and other social preparation activities so that recipient-growers can better manage their business. Implemented in phases, the allocation for these plantations will continue this year and in the foreseeable future to ensure their sustainability.
Falcata project beneficiary Emalyn Antad said that she stands to earn P3 million when one-hectare plantation is ready for harvest four years from now.
Antad, 51, whose family has previous experience in growing falcata, estimates that for 80 full-grown trees, a grower can expect a profit of P150,000. Each hectare has a total of 2,500 planted falcata seedlings.
"So imagine if I even have a 90 percent survival rate, I could be a millionaire four years from now," she says with a hearty laugh.
One of MMDC's agricultural development programs is the sustained support for rice, corn and vegetable growers, chiefly to strengthen their access to food while at the same time provide them with stable income.
Last year, a total of 315 farmers from Brgy. Bacolod, Carrascal, received seedlings, fertilizers, and other farm inputs amounting P1.2 million under the livelihood component of the company’s Social Development and Management Program (SDMP).
To improve yield and offset harvesting cost, the rice farming communities of Cabas-an and Parang in Cantilan received a unit of combine harvester and rotavator, respectively.
Amounting to P1.9 million, the recipient-farmers said the rotavator would make soil preparation faster, while the combine harvester would make the harvesting process easier by combining six operations such as gathering, transporting, reaping, threshing, cleaning and bagging into one machine.
MMDC and its community partners have also taken advantage of the mining boom that has spurred new economic activities in the province in the last 10 years, linking together to create livelihood opportunities for low-income farmers and for families living below the poverty line.
In Panikian, Carrascal, MMDC built a P1.6 million facility for a group of coconut growers engaged in coconet production, which extracts fiber and coco peat or coir dust from the green husks and shell of the “buko” or young coconut.
The fiber is a versatile material for controlling erosion in sloping areas, providing MMDC a reliable supply of coconet for its own use. Meanwhile, the coco dust is used as mixture to produce organic fertilizer.
In Brgy. Gamuton, Carrascal, and Linintian, Cantilan, pedal-powered tricycles (sikad-sikad) were handed over to unemployed individuals to jump start their way into the transport business. The sikad-sikad units amounted to P250,000.
Rene Mindaña, 51, one of the sikad-sikad project recipients, said he earns a minimum of P300 a day from plying the barangay routes.
"It's more than what most salaried individuals can earn in a day, so I'm thankful to Marcventures for giving us this unit. My earnings allow us to afford our daily needs plus this sikad-sikad serves as our family’s means of transportation especially during emergencies," Mindaña said.
As it partners with local stakeholders in developing their economic potentials, Marcventures vows to help families and organizations build strong communities whose residents enjoy improved quality of life.