sw“I am Ronalyn Madrazo, married with four children and residing at Brgy Rizal, Barobo, Surigao del Sur. I am the current president of the peoples organization called the Rizal Community-Based Resource Management Peoples Organization (RCBRMPO).

My husband and I started planting seaweeds in 2008 with a capital of PhP2,000.00. After 15 days, we observed that the “ice-ice” (epiphytes) infected our seaweeds. To remedy the situation, we harvested our seaweeds pre-maturely and sold it to local traders. We lost our capital. The next cropping season, we spent another PhP2,000.00 for seaweeds and experienced the same failure. We tried again and that same year, we lost

PhP20,000 capital that made us decide to stop farming seaweeds. We were discouraged by our failures.

In 2011, the PDAP coordinators arrived in our barangay. They conducted a 3-day Seaweeds Training in Lianga, Surigao del Sur from September 19-21, 2011. In that training, I learned a lot about the modern ways of seaweeds farming. Compared to our traditional farming practices where we installed 200-meter cultivar lines, it is wise to divide the cultivar lines into four at 50 meters in length for easy monitoring, maintenance and cleaning of seaweed cultivars. I also learned that the proper distance of planting seaweed propagules is around 12 inches using a new pest-resilient, high yielding variety which we called “giant”. Before our traditional belief is that seaweed farming is seasonal and we could only harvest once to twice a year from the months of November to March, I discovered in the training that we could actually harvest 3 times a year every 45 days after planting. I gained self-confidence and to apply the knowledge and skills that I learned in the training, I persuaded my husband to invest again in seaweeds farming. We started with P15,000 capital. We were able to harvest 3 times from January to December 2012 where we earned a net income of Php 60,000.

Our organization was able to access assistance for the nursery project (of PDAP) on May 3, 2014 for the seedlings valued at PhP10,000.Since then, the nursery generated income from the sales of seedlings amounting to P16,800.00 posting an accumulated net sales of P6,800.00 apart from the standing crop which are still available in our nursery. With the assistance of the project, farmer members can access seedlings from the nursery and pay the organization later during harvest time. The project is a big help to the organization and to our community, in general.

As of now, we have access to the market for our dried seaweed products like DAFO which act as the local market consolidator. Unlike before, there was only one local trader who controls the price of seaweeds. The intervention of the LMC buying our dried seaweed products at fair market prices is of great help to us farmers.

As president of RCBRMPO, PDAP has done so much for us in terms of organizational development improving our leadership and management and as well the installation of our internal control systems where all our financial transactions are properly recorded.”

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