June 19, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Pineapple farmers rebuild life after Typhoon Odette

IN the sloping terrain in the Municipality of Basilisa, a two-hectare pineapple production was wiped out, logging approximately ₱87,600 in losses. It was on December 16, 2021, that Typhoon Odette, internationally named Rai, struck the island province of Dinagat and brought extensive damages and losses to infrastructure, socio-economic sectors, as well as agriculture.

According to Fortunato M. Secusana, Chairperson of the Pineapple Growers Farmers Association, it was the strongest typhoon they experienced, battered by heavy rains and torrential winds. “Every roof was blown off, our things and our crops were blown away. There was nothing left,” he said.

Despite the destruction and complete loss of assets, the members of the association have been resolute and resilient as they move on and look forward to rebuilding their lives.

As they rebuild and recover, in 2022, the Quick Response Fund (QRF) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) – Caraga High Value Crops Development Program distributed pineapple suckers worth P525,000 for them to plant again.

“We are grateful to the DA, from the local to the regional offices, for the assistance that they have provided to us. Thank you for helping us start over in venturing into the business that we believe adds value to our product,” said Chairperson Secusana.

After a year, the Pineapple Growers Farmers Association is now reaping its first fruits from the QRF intervention and is able to start making pineapple wine again.

In 2019, the association was trained by the Department of Trade and Industry to start pineapple wine processing. Value-adding provides a steady source of income and employment opportunities, especially in their community where jobs are scarce. Each bottle is being sold for P300.

Pineapple fruit costs P30 per kilogram, if it is processed, a bottle of wine is equivalent to two kilograms of pineapple. The market value of a pineapple changes significantly when it goes through processing.

“Before, when we had the volume of harvested pineapples, we had difficulty looking for buyers. That is why we looked for ways, and we consulted the DTI to see if we could process pineapple wine. We were glad that they trained us,” Secusana said.

Currently, the association plans to establish a processing facility as they prepare for the accreditation of the Food and Drug Administration.

No storm could stop the dedication of the Pineapple Growers Farmers Association as they worked hard to start over. They showed resilience and hope. They proved that with the right motivation and proper coordination with the government, it is possible to begin again.