(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Monday, 15 July 2024) Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) affecting Southern Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—˜π—”π—§π—›π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to ITCZ. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—œπ—‘π—— 𝗔𝗑𝗗 π—–π—’π—”π—¦π—§π—”π—Ÿ π—ͺπ—”π—§π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Light to moderate winds coming from Southwest to Southeast will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.1 meters).

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Farmer in Surigao Norte town finds empowerment in agriculture

By Susil Ragas

“Farming has a higher purpose, as it does not only make ends meet. In farming, it provides a big space for women to step up and contribute to society.” 

This is the statement of Sonia Estrella, a native of Socorro town in the province of Surigao del Norte, who got inspiration from the Department of Agriculture (DA) Caraga and its local office as she embraced agriculture and cultivated a hectare of land.

The DA provided technical training to Estrella, including the concept of organic and integrated farming.

“I am grateful to the Department of Agriculture for allowing me to join training and teaching me new and efficient methods in agriculture,” she shared.

Sonia Estrella, a native of Socorro town in the province of Surigao del Norte, has been recognized by the Department of Agriculture Caraga as one of the empowered farmers who served as an inspiration to other women in the community who found love and productivity in agriculture. Photo courtesy of DA-13.

She developed a routine of waking up as early as 3 a.m. even before the rooster crows, to hike to Mount Manliko to tend to her crops and vegetables.

As the years passed, Estrella developed a  dedication and sacrifice in her work that led to the expansion of her farm to  three hectares. She achieved remarkable yields by employing organic and integrated farming methods, earning profits from her rice, vegetables, and hog raising. 

Today, she boasted of a  return on investment as she earned P80,000 per hectare of rice in 2023, while her vegetables earned around P171,000.  

With the combined income from planting, aquaculture, and animal poultry, she received a total revenue of P300,000.

This year, Estrella tried to innovate so her crops wouldgrow better. She uses compost and fish amino acids as alternative fertilizers, stating, “I took  left-over catch from local fishermen. With biodegradable materials from my farm, I created a compost pit for organic farming that will fertilize and revitalize the soil for healthy-grown vegetables and crops.”

Estrella also made innovations on her farm, such as  the rainwater collector that can be used to water her crops during the dry season. Lately, she is using it as a fishpond to maximize the utilization of the innovation.

Grateful for her blessings, she also donates 100 fingerlings to the town’s fishpond school project.

Currently, Estrella and her family manage three branches of “Sonia Store" that sell crops and farm products. This served as an indicator that she contributed to the local economy by supplying goods to the island town of Socorro.

Sonia Estrella, with strong support of her family, was able to expand her farm from a hectare to three hectares. She is able to establish three stores that sell products such as rice, crops and vegetables that are produced from her farm. Photo courtesy of DA-13.

Municipal Agriculturist Edelito C. Sangco commended Estrella for her passion and her heart to impart and share her learnings with the community, stating, “She is so willing to teach women in the community and encourages them to engage in farming and be productive partners of their husbands.”

Also, the Provincial Agriculturist Ruby-Ann S. Lagahit appreciated  Estrella for becoming a partner in agricultural development in Socorro and the province.

Estrella resonated loudly in the community as an advocate of agriculture. She became an icon of women empowerment and is determined to pass down her legacy to future generations. (SDR/PIA-Surigao del Norte, with a report from DA-Caraga)