Outcomes of Extension Activities in the Livelihoods of Smallholder Vegetable Farmers
The Case of Sabang Association of Farmer Entrepreneurs (SAFE) in Marilog, Davao City, Philippines
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, smallholder farmers in the Philippines are among the sectors with the highest poverty incidence. The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research had implemented a project to improve smallholder vegetable farmer’s net income and well-being. As part of the intervention, various extension activities were conducted to increase farmers’ livelihood capitals—human, social, financial, physical, and natural. These activities include production, postharvest, and market-related and capability-building trainings. Through the project, facilitation on linkages between farmers and microfinance institutions and different government support offices was done. This paper aims to present the outcomes of those extension activities in the livelihoods of small vegetable farmers and to reflect on several challenges encountered. A case study method and the information derived from preproject and postproject household surveys, focus group discussions, farming systems survey, and trip reports were utilized. Results show that extension activities increased farmers’ technology appreciation, implying improved human and social capitals. But this does not equate to farmer adoption, considering the costs of technology and its applicability. It has also resulted to farmers establishing and strengthening ties between government service providers andfinancing institution, thus increasing financial assets. However, findings reveal that farmers lack social preparation prior to accessing loans that resulted in difficulty in repayment.