Help from Havaianas
In December 2021, Super Typhoon Odette caused great damage to many parts of Negros. Many people lost their homes and their livelihoods. Among those affected were the members of the Brgy. Dos Talaba Growers Association in Ilog, Negros Occidental. Their oyster growing pens had been washed out to sea and many of their boats were destroyed. But thanks to our friends from Havaianas Philippines the oyster growers were able to get back on their feet.
Above: The storm ravaged parts of Negros and destroyed the growing pens of the oyster farm. Boats had washed away or been destroyed.
Left: Havaianas PH sent out a call for help. In addition to assisting the oyster farmers through NVC, they also supported other worthy causes.
In addition to the financial assistance from Havaianas, the association received technical assistance from the Agriculture Office of the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental. The oyster growers worked hard and by September 2022, business was thriving. Christmas season was right around the corner and the oyster growers were working towards harvesting a bumper crop in December.
Another Super Typhoon Hits
Unfortunately, Super Typhoon Paeng hit the country in October 2022. Like the year before, the oyster growers’ equipment was destroyed and washed out. And the oysters that had been growing plump and juicy under the water all died in their shells.
Once more, we appealed to the angels in our network for assistance. Many kind hearts stepped forward to lend a helping hand. Thanks to the assistance of generous souls, our oyster farmers got back on their feet again. However, we did not want them to be at the mercy of the vagaries of monocropping. And so, we challenged the team to diversify their business.
Bouncing Back Better than Before
While we drew up plans for diversification, the oyster farmers resumed their hard work. By January (photo in the middle) we could already see the potential of the crop. We suggested some improvements so that the oyster farmers would have better chances of long-term success. So, in March, we decided to replace the cheaper single use twine used to string the oysters with twine (photo on the right). Though twine is more expensive, it is a more durable and sustainable option.
Beginning to Diversify
The Japanese saying “Nana korobi ya oki” which means ‘Fall down seven times, get up eight’ talks about resilience in the face of adversity. Many of the communities we work with including the Brgy. Dos Talaba Growers Association are fine examples of this. With their hard work and dedication coupled with the support from donors and those who kindly share their technical expertise, they will continue to rise back up no matter how many storms hit.
After some consultation with members of the Institute of Aquaculture of University of the Philippines Visayas (bottom photo on the left), we decided mud crab farming would be a good option for the second business of the oyster farmers. We considered several techniques, including those suggested by the consultants from the Institute of Aquaculture. And in the end, we decided on the one that appeared to be best suited for the Brgy. Dos Talabahan Association.
Transforming Horses into Crabs
Painter and long-time NVC supporter Charlie Co donated three paintings of horses for the foundation to sell. Art aficionados quickly snapped up the paintings we used the funds raised to purchase materials to construct a crab-grow out pond in the mangroves. The members of the Brgy. Dos Talaba Association provided the labor component. They worked quicky and after just two weeks, they finished the crab growout pond–10 days ahead of schedule! Soon after, small crabs were put in and on the 12th of June, they had their first crab harvest!