Tacloban farmers earn cash from trash

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Z WEB 20160112 NATL R08 PINX WORM01Farmers belonging to four agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) in Tacloban are now earning extra income from selling organic fertilizers they produced through composting of farm waste materials.

Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Regional Director Sheila Enciso said it only took the ARBOs five months into vermi composting to produce more than a thousand kilograms of vermicasts from the 30 kilograms of African night crawlers (ANCs) given to them by the DAR in July last year.

Vermicast is the manure excreted by ANCs considered as effective organic fertilizers.
Among the highest producers of vermicasts are the Nagkakaisang Magsasaka ng Caibiran (NAMACA) of Caibiran, Biliran having produced 6,954 kilograms and Hacienda Maria Cooperative (HAMACO) in San Isidro, Leyte (5,000 kilograms).

Other top producers are Merida Agricultural Diversified Services Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MADS-MPC) in Merida, Leyte (1,750 kilograms) and the SAPISA Irrigators Association Inc. in Quinapondan, Eastern Samar (1,650 kilograms).

“Not bad for a beginner on this business,” said Dante Escarmoso on the ARBO’s performance. Escarmoso of RU Foundry is an expert on this technology.

Escarmoso explained that ideally 10 kilos of ANCs fed with 10 kilos of substrates, which are waste materials and animal manures, will produce eight to ten kilos of vermicasts in a day if properly managed.

Based on the report, NAMACA has sold P13,250 worth of vermicasts, while HAMACO has received orders worth P17,500.

The buyers, according to the ARBOs, include those engaged in cut flower industry, commercial farm owners, other farmers in the area, and ARBO members.

Enciso said the RU Foundry was the winning bidder to supply 100 shredders for the debris utilization and management for community-based organic fertilizer production project for Yolanda-affected agrarian reform areas in the region.

“As an act of goodwill, the RU Foundry also provided the 15 ARBOs with 30 kilos of ANCs and two sets of vermi-tea brewers each, and promised to extend necessary trainings to the farmers for the transfer of technology,” Enciso added.

Early this year, DAR provided each of the 100 ARBOs chosen all over the region a shredder that they could use in producing substrates, while 30 kilograms of ANCs and two vermi-tea brewers were distributed to each of the 85 other farmer groups.

The ARBOs are now using the equipment to venture into vermi culture, vermi composting, and organic crop production as an alternative livelihood program under this project. (Jose Alsmith Soria)