DA-Bicol wants Oas farmers to recover from eruption woes

OAS, Albay---Farmers Rodelio De La Cruz, Daryl Siares, and Eduardo Rea can now sing these lines to their vegetables---umula’t bumagyo, ayos lang, wag kang mangangamba, ayos lang!

“Gusto kan gobyerno na ayos kamo dawa nadanyaran kamo kan kalamidad kan Mayon Volcano (The government wants you to be okay even if you were affected by the calamity brought by Mayon Volcano),” says agriculturist Ronald Coprada of DA-Bicol High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP).

Quoting Rey Valera’s Kumusta Ka song, Coprada cited the advantage of this innovation of protective culture to their vegetables.

“Mag-uran man nin makusog, mag-init man nin matindi, mag-hulog man nin abo, ang saindong pananom protektado (Even if it rains hard, even if the heat of the sun is intense, even if there is an ash fall, your plants are protected).” Coprada said.

The 20 vegetable farmers from San Pascual, Balogo, Pistola, Ilaor, Ubaliw, Calpi, Bagsa, Maporong, Mayao, Cagmanaba, San Isidro, Ilaor Sur and Matambo were identified by Oas Municipal Agriculturist Leonardo Ondiz to participate in the last schedule of Training on Vegetable Production in Protective Culture on February 21, 2018.

The eruption-affected farmers will also be receiving Php9,200.00-worth of polyethylene UV-treated plastic; 100m of plastic mulch; two bags Durabloom; one unit of sprinkler and 100 pieces of bamboo stick for each farmer-participant as a start-up in the establishment of 8-10 tunnel-type greenhouses.

In an interview of the three farmers, their expected income could have reached as high as Php 100,000.00 from the harvest of their ampalaya, string beans, snap beans, hot pepper, eggplant and squash. However, in the afternoon of January 16, 2018, their farms were covered with ash and volcanic pebbles along with their expectations.

“Su pinya na tanom ko man sana an garo naogma sa abo (Only the pineapple which I planted seemed to be happy with the ash), said Siares. He added that it seemed there is a positive effect on his pineapple.

Albay Provincial Agriculture Service staff Rose Belludo encouraged the farmers to venture also in Mushroom Production because in 45 days, one can start harvesting their mushrooms. Mushrooms are grown inside a room or house, thus it is protected from rain, sun, and ash.

Belludo cited the advantage of protective culture in vegetables and mushrooms. Aside from protection from natural elements, they can be grown simultaneously, thus, sustaining their livelihood.

“Kaya, dapat adalan nin marhay an training na ini asin pagmakulugan an tinatao saindo kan gobyerno iyo ini an maparahay kan saindong pagkabuhay (So make the most from this training and give value on the free inputs being given by the government as this will improve your livelihood), advises Ondiz.

The greenhouses will be temporarily established in identified sites in Oas. They can grow short-term crops like pechay and tomatoes.

Since the greenhouses are collapsible, the farmers can dismantle the greenhouse and establish them again in their own farms upon decampment.

Coprada cited the government and private sector’s collective efforts in the conduct of this training. The DA, LGUs will continue to provide regular technical assistance and monitoring of the farmers’ greenhouses.

The lecture was capped with a hands-on demonstration. (jaysonmgonzales & yendimaculangan)