The sun shines for the
flowers in Kalagunoy
By Sabcee Garcia
Posted 11 August 2006
flowers of Kalagunoy.
IT’S 5:00 o’clock in the
early morning, the village is still very quiet as Rhodora “Tata”
Vicente prepares her three baskets of chrysanthemum. While it breaks
her heart watching her two small pre-school kids still asleep -- the
other three are already awake preparing for school -- she just have
to hurry to catch the only passenger jeepney going to the city, some
14 kilometers away.
To be able to cope with the
day’s work, her husband, Damaso, usually wakes up earlier and help in the
Carrying her small handbag,
she quickly slips her small figure through the small wooden door in
the kitchen. Together with 10 other members of the Blooming Forest
Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BFMPC), they carefully pile their
delicate flowers inside the jeepney.
Growing flowers has been her
major source of income for the last nine years. She had married and
had kids, but still, growing flowers is what she loves to do for a
It was in 2000 when she
became a part of the BFMPC in Barangay Kalagunoy, which BMFI helped
organize, and facilitated trainings on growing the flowers and in
marketing. Starting with only 22 members, the BFMPC is edging
towards its full potential. There are now 51 active members, and
total assets of P95, 910.30, with P22,670 as local counterpart
coming from the 51 households.
Tata is secretary of BFMPC,
aside from her role as mother of five, barangay secretary and
BFMPC was formally registered
with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) on March 2000.
Primarily, it was organized for the Community Based Forest
Management Program, later on it opened doors for several
opportunities. Through the cooperative they had access funds from
the City Government, line agencies and BMFI. “It is not just an
organization, it became a reason and a venue for coming together,”
With the financial
assistance, BFMPC was able to support cut-flower growers as well as
the upscaling of the production.
hectare, I was able to expand my flower cultivation by half a
hectare more. Production has doubled,” Tata said.
Before, the BFMPC used to
have only two varieties, Gladiola Native and African daisy. Now,
they market up to six varieties -- Holland Yellow, Cabbage Yellow,
Wonder white, Malaysian Mums and Aster white and lavender. “Here
in Gingoog, only BFMPC grows such flowers,” added Tata.
Rhodora “Tata” Vicente
The cooperative has already
gone a long way. Expectedly, there are twists and turns ahead. The
officers as well as the members will all the more hold on firmly to
the spirit of cooperativism they themselves had built and stood for.
BFPMC has indeed bridged some gaps in the barangay.
Although they sell mostly in
Gingoog City, BFMPC’s flowers usually reach Butuan, Surigao and
Leyte as their buyers resell the flowers everywhere. Tata said BFMPC
is taking it one step at a time to establish a stable market, and
who knows maybe later they will expand their market.
“We don’t sacrifice the
quality of our flowers. Our flowers can compete with the flowers of
Davao,” boasts Tata.
For the member of BFMPC,
growing flowers have increased their family incomes.”
In Tata’s case, the
additional P5,000 she earns monthly, her family was able to build a
house, sent her four children to school, and still able to set aside
some money for savings.
But flower growing is not
without problems. Tata said there are times when pests and fungus
infest their flowers. Now, they are trying the organic pesticide
they had learned during the Diversified Integrated Farming System
Orientation given by BMFI.
It’s now 30 minutes before
12:00 noon, Tata carrying two fat rami bags full of goods --
for her family, for neighbors who asked her to buy something --
aboard the only jeepney going back home to Kalagunoy. Exhausted but
happy, she thinks of her flowers back home. “I am a busy woman,”
she said, smiling.