Amidst the global modernization, the introduction of the different types of chemicals and other synthetic fertilizers to the local farmers has been applied to farming. This has been common to increase the production of crops and vegetables for the easiest way of achieving high income. However, this practice is quite harmful to the environment as it slowly destroys the natural components of soil and the crops will contain chemicals that could probably be harmful to human system.
Thus, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), with the help of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program exerted its effort to come up with a project that is eco-friendly, safe for human consumption, a source of food to sustain every 4Ps beneficiary’s table, educational to beneficiaries in terms of organic farming and an additional stable source of income for the beneficiaries of San Pablo Municipality, Zamboanga del Sur.
Oplan ONE (Organized Natural Eco-Farming) in San Pablo is a convergence initiative of the Department of Social Welfare and Development that promotes the usage of organic fertilizers that will benefit the soil, the consumers, farmers and the community in general. This is based on the study conducted by the department among the beneficiaries.
In the same manner, Oplan ONE in San Pablo is the result of the discussion among the members of the Municipal Action Team (MAT) of San Pablo otherwise known as the “Solid Team” on how to effectively and efficiently respond to the various gaps identified during the Social Welfare Assessment or the SWDI last 2015. The team agreed to come up with a Convergence Initiative (CI) that is multi-faceted which could respond to a multitude of gaps rather than formulating a CI for each and every gap identified. With this, the team would be able to utilize its resources more and reduce the possibility of consuming much time and means to implement and monitor all the CI’s for all the SWDI gaps.
Thus, the objectives of Oplan ONE San Pablo is a response to the following SWDI Gaps: (a) Meals in a day; (b) Malnutrition of children below six years old; (c) Monthly Income; and (d) Community Participation. In addition to this, the CI also aims to aid the Municipal Government of San Pablo with its goal of rehabilitating the soil of its farms by promoting the use of organic farming methods and fertilizers over its synthetic counterpart.
Furthermore, Oplan ONE (Organized Natural Eco-Farming) San Pablo has a deeper significance. ORGANIZE highlights “BAYANIHAN” or the orchestrated collaborative effort of the members of the community primarily the Pantawid beneficiaries who will be grouped in accordance to their “purok” as the main participants of the activity. They will perform their duties and responsibilities as the “agents of change” rather than being merely recipients or “target for change”. Meanwhile, NATURAL emphasizes the use of all-natural, alternative methods in agriculture (e.g., Organic fertilizers, double-digging, composting, etc.). It aims to help the Municipality promote the adaption of our farmers to organic farming methods by setting up demo farms in every Purok of every Barangay in San Pablo. On the other hand, ECO-FARMING encourages our farmers to think for long-term goals such as the rehabilitation of our farmlands from the degradation it sustained over the years caused by the use of synthetic fertilizers and practices harmful to our environment.
Upon determining the primary issues which were malnutrition, poverty, lack of knowledge in organic farming, climate change and livelihood, Oplan ONE San Pablo convergence initiative has come to life aiming to target and improve the quality of life of 100% San Pablo Municipality Pantawid beneficiaries.
To strengthen the participation of Pantawid beneficiaries, the local government unit in the municipality of San Pablo hosted a friendly competition amongst beneficiaries in cultivating the most beautiful communal garden as per their guidelines and criteria.
This way, program implementers were able to inculcate the idea of maintaining a garden in the daily routine of the beneficiaries. Even after the competition, monitoring is still continuously conducted to ensure that there is already stability in terms of the availability of food to every Pantawid Household, improved condition of the children with regards to their nutrition, additional income to support other extra needs of the family, rehabilitation of the soil and upgrading the knowledge of the Pantawid Farmers towards organic farming.
Moreover, the team also sees to it that the B/MLGU sustains its support towards the project to make sure that the CI shall continue its effectiveness in providing alternatives that gives a boost in the status of living of Pantawid beneficiaries.
100% of the total population of the Pantawid beneficiaries participated in the project that led to the success of the CI. Meanwhile, the following tangible and observable results were noted after the evaluation of the project.
- Sustained daily major meals of the family, and the monthly cash grants are set only to buy the educational and health needs of the children. Thus, the purpose of the monthly cash grant is allocated as to where it has supposed to be spent.
- Children below six (6) years old were able to gain more weight compared to previous tests and this is based on the data from the Barangay Health Centers.
- Additional income to the beneficiaries. Oftentimes, their vegetables and other crops are reserved and bought wholesale as the people (non-Pantawid) are already aware of the harmful effects of the vegetables grown with artificial fertilizers.
- The collaboration of the community got even better as they were able to learn the essence of cooperative work towards the achievement of one common good that can be benefited by the whole community in general.