In Bangao, Buguias, Benguet, a remarkable transformation is taking root, and it all centers around a determined and resilient woman named Grace B. Bacangan. Grace, a farmer and the current Chairperson of the Macascassa Farmers Association, has become the embodiment of change, not just for herself but for her entire community. Her journey from conventional farming to agricultural excellence is a testament to the power of education, innovation, and community support.
Before the winds of change touched her life, Grace’s farming practices were traditional, and her expectations uncertain. She found contentment when her vegetable crops fetched prices ranging from 10 to 15 pesos in the market. Little did she know that her world was about to undergo an implausible transformation.
Enter the Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture (AMIA) Program, a DA’s program on climate change with the vision of enabling the local communities in the agri-fishery sector to pursue sustainable livelihood while effectively managing climate risks, her introduction to AMIA marked a turning point.
Under the guidance of the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist, her association was organized, and they were eventually chosen as beneficiaries of the AMIA Project. The interventions they received were nothing short of transformative: a unit of a diversion dam, a concrete tank, a pump and engine, HDPE Pipes, a greenhouse, nursery support, livestock, fertilizers, and various farm inputs.
The diversion dam resolved their irrigation woes, ensuring year-round planting. The greenhouse expanded her horizons, allowing her to cultivate different crops with stable prices. The 10 piglets provided by AMIA added a new dimension to her livelihood. Although she faced challenges like the African Swine Fever, she remains resilient, nursing her pig business back to health.
The impact of these interventions on her life is selfless. Her income has seen an annual increase of 15%, a proof to the effectiveness of AMIA’s support. Beyond financial gains, her profits have helped cover her husband’s dialysis treatment, making a noticeable difference in their lives.
But her journey is not just about personal growth; it’s about inspiring others. She devotes her time to educate the barangay council and fellow farmers on becoming DA farmer beneficiaries. Her dedication to this cause stems from her deep love for farming and her desire to see her community prosper.
In addition to AMIA, she is also a beneficiary of the High Value Crops Development Program due to her Good Agricultural Practices certification. She also actively participates in the KADIWA Program of the agency, cherishing the opportunities it brings.
She expresses her heartfelt gratitude to DA-CAR, AMIA, HVCDP, and AMAD for transforming her life and the lives of those around her. “I am truly thankful to OMAG and OPAG for introducing us to the different programs of DA, to the entire DA-CAR family, because through these interventions, we have advanced our farming techniques and improved our standard of living,” she warmly conveys. By Leny D. Mendoza