Passi farmers into jathropa planting
Iloilo City (14 October) -- Farmers in 19 barangays of Passi City have found another alternative source of livelihood by planting jathropa in their once idle and unproductive cogonal lands.
Commonly known among Ilonggos as kasla, jathropa is identified as one of the sources of alternative fuel.
Gemomua-Agahon Multi-Purpose Cooperative (GAMPCO) Chairman Benifredo Matucan said in July of this year, the Philippine National Oil Company-Alternative Fuels Corporation (PNAC-AFC), GAMPCO and the city and barangay officials of Passi led by Mayor Elyzer Chavez signed a memorandum of agreement for a 800-hectare jathropa plantation in Passi City.
The agreement involves a P14.6 million fund for one year and 6 months which will be used for land preparation, plantation, cultivation and up to harvest involving an area of 800 hectares.
Data obtained from Passi City Agriculture Office showed that around 607.67 hectares in the 19 barangays of Passi City have already been planted with jathropa, benefiting some 626 farmers and more than 8,000 laborers as of October 14.
"Farmers are paid P3.00 per jathropa seedling that they have planted and they will earn more than P18,000 per hectare for 18 months", said Matucan.
He further disclosed that 200 hectares more are being prepared for plantation.
PNOC provides the seedlings and will serve as market for the harvested jathropa crops.
Matucan said the program was presented to them by former Passi City Mayor Jesry Palmares who is currently a member of the PNOC-AFC board when they were looking for measures to support the efforts of the Passi city government to provide alternative livelihood and to increase the income of farmers in the city, particularly the small ones.
It will be recalled that PNOC-AFC was directed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to spearhead the biofuels project in the country after signing Republic Act 9367 or the Biofuels Act of 2006. (PIA) [top]