Vegetables bring hope to women farmers

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte (PIA) - The Self-Employment Assistance- Kaunlaran (SEA-K) being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development is bringing hope and giving enthusiasm and determination among a group of poor women farmers in Barangay Camansi, Mayorga, Leyte.

According to Catalina Lazar, "in 2007, we in the 15 - member Mayorga Vegetable Growers Association of which I was the head, received Php 75,000 from the non-collateral and interest - SEA-K free loan program.

Prior to the release, the DSWD had organized the women farmers into a SEA-Kaunlaran Association, which is a self-managed community-based micro credit organization.

Lazar, who is also at the helm of the Mayorga SEA-Kabayan, is very articulate on how association members cultivate fruit-bearing trees and vegetables. As one listens to her, one could feel her passion and inspiration to "plant" seeds, and the anticipation of reaping the fruits in the near future.

"Who would ever imagine that red and green lettuce are now being grown in Mayorga, Leyte," Catalina said as she enumerated her produce -- red lady papaya, pechay, eggplant, squash, bell pepper, patola, upo, among others.

Through the program, the beneficiaries were taught entrepreneurial skills to manage a sustainable credit organization, and to save from their earnings so they can extend assistance to fellow members and folks from their community.

The DSWD also helped them access other government entities for technical assistance. Catalina proudly narrated that they were able to undergo a five - month hands-on training handled by field experts from Taiwan.

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