Originally designed as the RSS Program’s response to the pandemic which affected the small farmers’ capacity to have extra income source and provide for their families’ basic needs— SIFI and partner mills – HPCo, VMC and Lopez Sugar launched in September 2020 the “PAGSIK” Incentives Program for ARBOs.
“PAGSIK” is an acronym for Productivity Aid to Groups of Small farmers Improve their C(K)rop. It is an Ilonggo word that means “robust, strong”, and derived from the word “Pang-papagsik”, which means “to incentivize or motivate”. Under this program, selected ARBOs can access from the RSS Program material, financial and technical support to establish a minimum of 200 square meters Vegetable Garden.
RSS support is in terms of materials (seeds for 5 vegetable types, garden tools, fertilizer and signages) and labour cost (total of Php17,000/ARBO) plus technical inputs. ARBO’s counterpart is the use of at least 200 sq. meters land for the vegetable garden, labour cost and management.
Qualified ARBOs are those who practice trash farming, promote PPE use and do not allow child labourers in their sugar farms.
Today, a combined total of 147 small farmer-members from 4 ARBOs will stand to benefit from the produce and profit of Vegetable Gardens. Receiving PAGSIK support are 4 ARBOs, namely:
- DFMPAFA or De Fuego 2 Multi-purpose Agri. & Farmers Assn., Silay City
- STUFWA or Sto. Tayap United Farm Workers Assn., Silay City
- GFA or Gracia Farmers Assn., Cadiz City; and,
- HSBFA or Hda. Sta. Barbara Farmers Assn., Cadiz City.
The first harvest is targeted in November-December 2020.