During the pandemic, the City Government of San Fernando through the City Veterinary Office continue to provide livelihood assistance to the farmers with the excise tax from tobacco products under the Republic Act Number 7171.

Hog and cattle fattening

Last May 6 and 13, around 60 piglets for backyard hog fattening were given to 20 tobacco farmers from 8 barangays. They were also given technical capacitation training and support materials such as feeds and other biological products.

According to the records of the City Veterinary Office, the provision of additional livestock started as early as 2018 when  44 cattles were given to tobacco farmers then in 2019 when 12 carabaos were given as assistance to their livelihood.

Also in 2019, tobacco farmers were given materials such as salt mineral blocks; vitamins A, D, E; dewormer; antibiotics; and forage development materials.

Their income from this livelihood ranges from PhP 15,000 to 24,000 after a year of fattening.

There was also a memorandum of agreement between the city vet and farmers that they should not dispose the original livestock given to them until these livestock had calving for four times. Currently, 14 barangays already benefited from the livestock who produced offspring.

GAD beneficiaries

Meanwhile, the beneficiaries of the Gender and Development Program were also given 38 goats as livelihood assistance. The 18 recipients are comprised of solo parents, persons with disabilities, and senior citizens from 12 barangays.

In addition, 16 recipients from 5 coastal barangays were given 14 hens and 2 cockerels last June 4, 2021.

They were all given technical capacitation training and support materials such as vitamins, dewormer, forage cuttings, and salt mineral blocks.

Farmer beneficiaries

One of the beneficiaries, Isidro Valdivia, 70, resident of Tanquigan, was given three female goats and one male goat in 2019. Though the male goat died due to illness, the three female goats already bore offspring thrice, according to Valdivia.

As a strategy to increase the number of his goats, he mentioned that female goats are retained while male goats are sold. He said, “No kalakayan ket ilakok, no met kabbahyan ket ibatik nga paganakken manen, manayunan nga manayunan.”

The goat raiser also said that when he started to sell his goats, the highest income he earned before was PhP 50,000 and above. However, this lessened because of the pandemic.

Valdivia also recognized the technical training programs on Goat Enterprise Management in the Farmer Livestock School facilitated by Dr. Ernestine T. Estillore, City Veterinary staff. Because of the training, he was able to enhance his knowledge of alternative technologies in Installing goat housing, feeding and health management. Now, he has around 17 mature goats and around 20 kids.

Aside from Valdivia, Adrin dela Cruz, 49, from Barangay Bungro, was also given cattle for fattening in 2019. He was able to sell it last May 2021 for an amount of PhP 50,000 and was able to return the book value of PhP 36,000 to buy new livestock.

Dela Cruz used the remaining money to buy housing equipment and other necessities. In May 2021, he was also given feeds and three hogs for fattening. He also expressed his gratitude to the local government for granting this kind of assistance to him.

In San Fernando, we value the hard work of our farmers and of our marginalized citizens. We also hope to have a more progressive San Fernando through the agricultural initiatives for the sector of farmers. We are one with you despite the pandemic because we always strive to be #SanFernandoTayo.