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Cagayan de Oro
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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Feature:Green thumbs and greener grass


by Pamela Joyce Fumero

MARAWI CITY (PIA)–By now, we’ve all heard of the old nursery rhyme “Magtanim ay Di Biro” (Farming is No Joke), having been taught it in elementary school, and while most of us are not blind to the hardships of our farmer, very few of us have had to go through their lived experience in both the figurative and literal field.

Like many of us, Salapidaw Organization Human Capital Manager Amenodin Gadia also knew little about the craft before he was forced back into his hometown of Balindong after the siege left Marawi and its surrounding municipalities in ruin in 2017.

Having previously worked in the trading industry in Boracay, Aklan, farming was not the sharpest tool in his shed when he returned home, but during a time when everyone was desperately trying to make ends meet, he had little to no choice but to get his hands dirty and learn it the hard way.

When he first started, he shared a small plot of land with his fellow farmers, which they utilized to plant bell peppers.

After some time, when they had gained some experience and were more confident in their skills, they agreed to start tilling in their own backyards as well to produce more crops and slowly work their way towards their goal of making a name for Balindong as a producer of fresh and high-quality crops.

When USAID and Plan International’s Marawi Response Project (MRP) came into town, Salapidaw immediately caught their attention.

Seeing their potential and determination to recover from their traumatic experience, they took Salapidaw under their wing and provided them with training seminars to further enhance their knowledge and skills. MRP also gave them a grant for a vegetable farm to help them reach their goal of becoming a well-known provider of high-quality produce. This will give them a better chance of reaching their goal.

With their combined experience and newly developed expertise in farming, members of the Salapidaw Organization set off and began passing on everything they’d learned to farmers from neighboring towns who didn’t have access to the same opportunities they had, and it wasn’t long before a sort of brotherhood began forming among their members.

What started as a simple means of livelihood turned out to be so much more thanks to MRP, but none of it would have ever been possible without Salapidaw’s drive and ambition. Today their crops make it to Cagayan de Oro City, and what only started as a dream for the organization is slowly coming to fruition. (PJF/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

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