REPORT TO THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE SECRETARY HONORABLE PROCESO ALCALA ON THE GREENHOUSE PROJECT IN THE DIOCESE OF BOAC- MARINDUQUE
The island of Marinduque is an agricultural province in the MIMAROPA Region. Most of the population of the island is composed of small farmers and fishermen. Some upland farmers are still using the “slash and burn method” of farming which destroy the forests which are now causing landslides and flooding in the waterways and nearby localities of the province.
In the year 2000, the Diocesan Social Action Commission (SAC) introduced to some upland farmers the Sustainable Agriculture Farming System using the Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT). Despite some difficulties in convincing the farmers, gradually many of them realized the importance of the farming system not only to their health but to the environment as well, and they implement it in their own land. As a result of this initiative, there are already nine (9) areas with ninety four (94) farmer-implementers. They produce high value crops mostly vegetables like cabbage, lettuce, beans, bell pepper, and other vegetables which they sell in the town markets of the province.
When the Department of Agriculture and National Agri-business Corporation granted the Greenhouse Farming Project to the Diocese of Boac, which management entrusted by the bishop to the Social Action Commission, the organic farming project became more viable. Inaugurated in October 2010, the greenhouses started to grow crops like honey dew, cucumber, tomato, pechay, melon and other vegetables. The initial harvest started in November 2010 until January 2011. There are two project sites for greenhouse farming such as: the Barangay Caganhao with eight (8) greenhouses and Masiga site with nine (9) greenhouses.
II. Project Results/Gains:
- The Caganhao Site has already served as learning exposure to the students of the Marinduque State College – College of Agriculture. The group composed of 15 was taught about the greenhouse farming technology and the organic farming system.
- It also became a venue for study of the farmers of some barangays such as: Caganhao, Amoingon, Bahi and Pangi in learning the technology on organic fertilizer making and natural composting.
- The project generated employment by hiring some residents to do the job of planting, marketing and constructing and other farm work especially during the start of the project.
- Initial income from the sales of farm produce for the fund of the Sustainable Agriculture Program of SAC.
- People’s awareness on the organic farming especially the community where the projects are located and other neighboring barangays.
- The Barangay Caganhao local government units had a display of vegetable products especially Honey Dew last December 2010 during the Agro-industrial Fair on the occasion of Boac Town Fiesta.
- Some people had a chance to have healthy foods as a matter of fact some employees in the government offices became customers of the products and some businessmen who are engaged in food business had patronized the farm products.
III. Hindering and Accelerating Factors in the Project Implementation:
A. Accelerating Factors:
- The support of the Bishop and the priests in implementing the project. Some priests helped in the marketing of farm products;
- Support of the community. The Caganhao is SAC area for Building Basic Christian Community (BCC) Program, the members had been very active in giving support to the project;
- Support of DA, NABCOR and other groups; and
- Skilled and Hardworking Sustainable Agriculture Program staff.
B. Hindering Factors:
- Lack of water facility in Masiga site – which caused delay of planting of four (4) units of greenhouse, only 5 units were planted in the first cropping season (October-December 2010). But the drip irrigation has already been installed and land preparation has been done and now ready for planting together with other greenhouses. The Caganhao site became more productive in the first cropping season and this January, all greenhouses are already planted for second cropping season.
- Lack of staff to work in the farm – the program is not yet able to hire adequate fulltime staff since the farm has just started and the income is not sufficient enough, but SAC is looking forward to having adequate personnel.
- Lack of fund for infrastructure support – since there are two project sites (Masiga and Caganhao), only the Caganhao site was able to construct farm house, composting facility, and garden canal. SAC is still looking for funds for the construction of infrastructure facility for Masiga site.