In 2014, the Partnership for Development Assistance in the Philippines Inc. (PDAP) was tapped by the Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF) International, Philippines through its Serving Affected Families Effectively (SAFE) program to implement the livelihood component of its then on-going rehabilitation projects in the municipality of Marabut, Western Samar. With funding support from the OMF-SAFE, PDAP implemented the Enhancing Coastal Communities’ Recovery and Resiliency from Disaster through Seaweeds Farming Project in February 2015 to January 2016.
The project sought to revive the seaweeds industry in Marabut, Western Samar by increasing production through a) provision of production inputs; b) provision of technical assistance through direct coaching and mentoring and on-site technical advisories; and, c) expansion of production areas to cover the four (4) barangays (i.e. Logero, Binocyahan, Pinalangga and Amambucale) in the municipality of Marabut that passed the water sampling and where OMF-SAFE has an on-going rehabilitation project.
The initial target beneficiaries of the project were the 241 household members who were then benefitting from the OMF-SAFE housing project in the four (4) barangays in Marabut. However, only 114 signified their interests to participate and only 73 of those who signified interests participated in the 1st and 2nd batch of seaweeds planting. Due to the minimal participation of the targeted beneficiaries, PDAP in consultation with OMF-SAFE decided to expand the beneficiaries to other barangays that are not covered by OMF-SAFE’s housing project. Interested farmers from Brgys. Malobago and Ferreras were accepted. Farmers in Brgy. Ferreras eventually decided not to participate choosing to focus on an ongoing project in their barangay. Some farmers in other barangays also decided to stop planting due to the presence of sea turtles while others were discouraged as their crops were damaged by strong currents brought by typhoons. At the end of project implementation, only 70 farmer-beneficiaries in the five (5) barangays (i.e. Logero, Binocyahan, Pinalangga, Amambucale and Malobago) remained active in seaweeds farming.
Farmer-beneficiaries were provided with farm implements and technical assistance on seaweeds farming. A total of 17 frames were installed in the five (5) barangays and two (2) seaweed nurseries were established in Brgys. Logero and Amambucale. Eleven (11) seaweed dryers from another PDAP project under Tabang Visayas were also installed in Brgys. Malobago and Logero.
Local buying in Brgy. Malobago was established. Local seaweeds production and market networks were also established in Marabut and nearby municipalities of Eastern Samar where seaweeds farming was present. Farmer-beneficiaries were also given information on the business side of seaweeds farming.
Savings mobilization scheme was introduced to the People’s Organization (PO) members. POs were also mobilized and assisted in securing their registration with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The project resulted in: a) improved seaweeds farming technology and production; b) improved access of farmers to credit through self-help approach; and, c) mobilized functional POs in the five (5) barangays.