KANANGA, Leyte – Fifty-five members of the Libertad Farmers Association attended one-day training on organic farming technology at the 19th Infantry Battalion’s camp in Brgy. Aguiting, Kananga, Leyte on Wednesday, April 16.
The training was part of the military’s continuing support to established people’s organizations in selected towns in Leyte, which aimed at uplifting the lives of its members.
During said training, the participants learned how to make various types of “contusions”. These are organic extracts made out of plants and other indigenous materials which may be used as plant growth enhancer, pesticide and soil conditioner. Contusions are made up of bacteria created through fermentation process and can also enhance the fertility of the planting area.
While contusions enhance plant growth, land preparation according to lecturer Mayang dela Cruz, is also equally important and is one the fundamental requirements in organic farming method. In organic farming, “double-dig” method is highly recommended when preparing the “plant beds” as it prevent plant roots from stress and improves retention of nutrients needed by plants for several years.
All these organic farming methods and technologies were stirred by Mr. Gil Carandang, the Father of Philippine Organic Farming who mentored 19IB and its clienteles during series of workshops on “Sustainable Integrated Organic and Natural Mini Farm Program” sponsored by the Land Bank of the Philippines.
The training was also graced by Hon. Elmer Codilla, the Municipal Mayor of Kananga, Leyte who pledged support to the constituents of Brgy. Libertad. Mr. Troy Bumagat, proprietor of the Trophy Farm in Kananga, Leyte also distributed 80 kilograms of organic rice seeds to the association. The said seeds were accordingly provided by the regional office of the Department of Agriculture. Mr. Bumagat will also be giving high yielding variety of corn seeds to the same farmers association.
The Libertad Farmers Association was the first communist-inspired farmers group in Kananga, Leyte organized way back in 1992. The New People’s Army established the group purposely to intensify the influence of the communist rebels in all of the 23 barangays of the said town. The group was disintegrated when its key leaders surrendered to 19IB in 2006.
In later part of 2012, 19IB moved to reorganize all groups that were left after the fall of the New People’s Army in Leyte. Libertad Farmers Association was one of the organizations which were officially registered in the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in 2013, through the effort of 19IB and 802nd Infantry Brigade.
Lt. Col. Nedy Espulgar, commanding officer of the 19th Infantry Battalion said the military will continue to train and provide available support to all of its established people’s organizations in Leyte. 19IB is also engaging government agencies, Non-Government Organizations and even the private sectors in order to address the needs of its established people’s organization which turned away from the communist ideologies.
As of now, the military is supporting 10 people’s organizations namely: Taglawigan Farmers Association, Taglawigan Fisher Folks Association and Catoogan Farmers Association in San Isidro, Leyte; Cabatoan Farmers Association, Airport Farmers Association, Jubay Farmers Association and Sorosimbahan Farmers Association in Calubian, Leyte; Rubas Farm Producers Association and Rubas Farmers and Tourism Developers Association in Jaro, Leyte and Libertad Farmers Association in Kananga, Leyte. (Press release from 19IB)