PILI, CAMARINES SUR – A total of 85 units of composting facilities for biodegradable wastes (CFBWs) allocated for Bicol for 2022 were distributed by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Bicol and Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM). The ceremonial turnover was held on January 17, 2023 at the DA Regional Field Office in this municipality.

Some 75 farmer cooperatives and associations were the initial recipients of these CFBW technology package worth P950,000 each. The 52 units were already delivered to FCAs in Camarines Sur, eight units will be delivered to FCAs in Camarines Norte, nine in Albay, nine in Sorsogon, three in Catanduanes, and four in Masbate.

According to BSWM Focal Person for Bicol and Water Resources Management Division (WRMD) Chief Ernesto B. Brampio, the establishment of CFBWs is a P3 billion-worth program funded under the Rice, High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP), and Organic Agriculture (OA) Program. It was designed to augment the DA’s fertilizer subsidy by sustaining the fertilizers needed by local farmers to boost their production.

Brampio mentioned that each CFBW package can produce 800 kilograms to one ton of compost equivalent to six bags per week or 2,040 bags of organic fertilizer per month. He added that composting can also boost soil health, minimize the risks of using synthetic fertilizers, and protect the environment by reducing, reusing and recycling biodegradable wastes.

For CY 2022, 75 FCAs qualified for the said program in the region. Each FCA will receive one CFBW technology package consisting of one unit of size reduction machine and one unit of rotary composter. Meanwhile, the BSWM team together with DA-Bicol Rice Program staff will facilitate the on-site demonstration and training on compost production and facility management to ensure the program’s effectiveness and sustainability. The recipient associations are expected to submit a monthly report of organic fertilizers produced.“

This is one of the answers in addressing the high cost of inputs especially fertilizer–balanced fertilization through the composting facility, so napa-practice natin mas makakatipid tayo sa inputs na ilalagay natin sa ating mga farms,” Field Operations Division Chief Dr. Mary Grace DP. Rodriguez said. She also appealed to the FCA recipients to maximize the use of the facility and manage its operation and maintenance.

Moreover, Brampio encouraged other FCAs to avail of the composting facility for CY 2023 funding. Proponents may submit their letter of intent to BSWM Director Gina P. Nilo or DA-Bicol Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tornilla. The DA-Bicol Rice Program and BSWM Soil and Water Area Coordinators (SWAC) will evaluate and assess the proponents’ application and documentary requirements and conduct site validation.

The ceremonial turnover was attended by DA-Bicol Regional Technical Director (RTD) for Operations Luz R. Marcelino, RTD for Research and Regulations Edgar R. Madrid, Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer for Camarines Sur Marcial T. Bustarga, Villar Sipag Foundation Coordinator for Bicol Hilda Pacis and representatives from BSWM, DA-Bicol Rice, Organic Agriculture, HVCDP, and partner FCAs.

Balanced fertilization strategy is a soil fertilization and site-specific nutrient management strategy that applies the 4Rs concept of fertilization namely Right Source, Right Placement, Right Amount and Right Rate of fertilizer use to improve soil health. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA RAFIS V with reports from Blessy Osea, DA RFO V Rice Program)