DOLE grants assistance to Bontoc organic citrus growers
by Juliet B. Saley
Bontoc, Mt. Province (10 October) -- To help generate employment, increase the income of the Bontoc Organic Citrus Growers Cooperative members, enhance and sustain their organic farming with more production and market, the Department of Labor and Employment regional office is granting this cooperative a financial assistance amounting to P782,750.00.
The assistance is under the DOLE-Adjustment Measures Program and the Unlad Kabuhayan Program Laban sa Kahirapan and comes in the form of equipment, supplies and materials. This will be turned over by DOLE Regional Director, Atty. Ana Dione to the cooperative on October 18.
Based on the project proposal submitted by the cooperative to DOLE, the amount will be used to purchase three portable shredders, 12 motorized grass cutters, 6 soil testers, and 120 earthen jars.
According to Miguela Limmayog, Provincial Head of DOLE Mt. Province, the Bontoc Organic Citrus Growers Cooperative based in barangay Maligcong, Bontoc has 90 members who are mostly residents in this barangay. Some members come from barangay Caluttit who have farms at or near Maligcong.
Coop members are engaged in organic fertilizers and pesticides production and they have been practicing organic farming the indigenous way. Their traditional farming practice was enhanced by the organic farming technology they have learned from Benguet State University and the La Trinidad Organic Practitioners Association.
To give each member a chance to make his own organic fertilizer, the members will be grouped into five clusters wherein each cluster will share one portable shredder which will be placed in a strategic area which is accessible to all members of the cluster. The cooperative has already acquired two shredders and with the additional three to be purchased, each cluster will have a shredder.
The citrus growers said the use of a shredder is of great help. What we chop manually in a half day can be done by the shredder in just two hours and even finer, they added.
In an informal meeting with the citrus growers in barangay Maligcong last October 7, Director Dione saw the actual situation and the needs of the members. She also admired the members of their advance knowledge which they have shared during the discussion.
Knowing that some of the members are also engaged in bee keeping, Dione encouraged them to maintain and to increase the number of bees as they are the most important pollinators.
Moreover, the DOLE regional office will also give assistance to the Samoki Weavers Association who are engaged in loom weaving. The agency provides one High Speed Sewing Machine and an Edger Machine (Zigzagger) worth P45,000.00 to help them improve their product and to be competitive with the other weavers.
According to Jocelyn Culaling of DOLE Provincial Office, there are 25 members of the association. (PIA MP) [top]