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MRDP funds vermicomposting project in Cotabato

MANILA, Philippines - Farmers in a barangay in North Cotabato have turned to vermicomposting as a major source of income after receiving grants from the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP).

Farmers in Brgy. Kibudoc in the municipality of Matalam are able to sell vermicompost after only a year of production.

The vermicomposting project in the barangay started in 2012 after receiving funding of P400,000 from the MRDP of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the provincial government of North Cotabato.

The project is managed by the Prolife Farming and Livelihood Association (PFLAI), a farmers’ cooperative.

In its first year of operation, the PFLAI cooperative produced only 25 kilograms of vermicompost, growing to six tons in 2013.

“Last year, the PFLAI has developed and eventually increased its production to hundreds of kilos of vermi-compost placed in vermi beds,” said PFLAI president Lorde Magoncia.

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The cooperative sells vermicompost for P250 per sack while African night crawler worms used to make vermicompost are sold for P500 per kilo.

Their buyers come from various towns in North Cotabato and provinces in the Soccskargen region as well as from Visayas and Luzon.

Vermicompost is organic fertilizer produced from composting using various worms, usually African night crawlers. It is composed of decomposed vegetables, food waste and worm castings.

It is widely used in organic agriculture because it contains water-soluble nutrients and functions as soil conditioner.

The MRDP, which is now on its second phase, is a five-year program of the DA intended to raise the income of farmers in 225 towns in Mindanao through the establishment of farm infrastructure and livelihood assistance.

The program’s total funding of $123.90 million was sourced from the $83.752-million loan from the World Bank and equity share of the National Government and local government units, as well as grants from various foreign governments.

The program ends this year and would be replaced by the six-year Philippine rural development program which would cover 80 provinces nationwide.

 

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