Friday, September 23, 2016

DOST-PCAARRD project beneficiaries from Brgy. Bagong Silang report better vegetable produce

Women farmers bag bitter gourd (left) and water eggplants (right) (Photo by Rose Anne K. Mananghaya, ACD)
Farmer-cooperator and President of Barangay Bagong Silang farmers association Louie Carollo reported that vegetables grown organically yield bigger produce compared with vegetables grown using commercial fertilizers and pesticides. Carollo is one of the beneficiaries of the project, Gender-Responsive Organic Vegetable Production Livelihood Enterprise for Low-Income Communities of Los Baños, Laguna, which started in July 2015.

The project is funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) and implemented by the local government unit (LGU) of Los Baños in cooperation with the Bureau of Plant Industry – Los Baños National Crop Research, Development, and Production Support Center (LBNCRDC).

Carollo also shared his experience in the Friday organic market organized by the LGU, where they were able to sell all their produce as early as noontime.

“We were surprised with the customers’ interest during the Friday organic market which is different from before when we had to drastically lower our prices just to sell all our produce,” Carollo said in Filipino.

Farmers of Barangay Bagong Silang grow organic Filipino bokchoy or pechay, mustard greens, sponge gourd, squash, eggplant, bittergourd, tomato, pepper, garlic, lettuce, and cucumber. A concrete rainwater catchment was set up in the farm vicinity as part of the project.

Women played significant role in the Barangay Bagong Silang communal farm. They do the planting, watering, weeding, bagging of bittergourd with nets to prevent damage from pests, and harvesting. Men, on the other hand, prepare the land for planting and transport their harvest for selling. Women also sell their produce in the Friday organic market at the LGU-Los Baños office.

Aside from Barangay Bagong Silang, the project identified barangays Timugan, Putho-Tuntungin, Bambang, and Malinta as beneficiaries. LGU-Los Baños considers organic vegetable production as potential livelihood for low-income communities as it provides growers with regular and continuous source of food and cash for the residents’ basic needs.

This project focuses on empowering women to engage in sustainable production of organic vegetables using science-based technologies. This initiative involves capacity building for farmer-cooperators and project implementers, particularly the LGU; provision of structures for organic seed production; creating and implementing a municipal ordinance ensuring the continuity of the project with permanent fund allocation; and support to a trading post or permanent local market outlet or “bagsakan” of organic produce.


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