STRIKE HOME|Tagum’s unlikely monarchy: Mati’s urban gardening bid  

TWO local government units last week gave us something to reflect upon and to consider with the unveiling of Tagum City’s apiary and Mati City’s home gardening and nature farming, respectively.

As this paper reported the other day, Tagum’s apiary features 21 colonies, each ruled by a queen imported from Australia.

This is no ordinary undertaking since it involved at least a million pesos to realize but I am pretty sure the city government or its city agriculturist office figured it all out before it plunged into the endeavor.

I am also sure that the city agriculturist factored in the environment where the apiary is located since apiaries live and die by how safe and protected their environments are. The nearer they are to farms that use pesticides, the lesser their chances for survival. But the more they are protected, the more sustainable they become.

Mati City’s so-called home gardening and nature farming is also worthy of consideration. It is indeed something that should be recommended to urban communities.

Mati City in fact went even further by the issuance of Executive Order No. 42 that mandated the “establishment of green communities with agri-industry based components for the youth, women organized associations and the urban poor sector.”

But while Mati City officials would like to call it that way, the system actually shapes up as a form of waste management. This is because producing the compost derived from bio-degradables (coming mostly from the kitchen) comes first in the hierarchy of priorities. Once the compost is produced, then you can go into planting.

Fred Fangonon, a former OFW and former Barangay Loakan (Baguio City) punong barangay actually wrote a book on this, entitled Eco-Composting. He himself willed the village to practice the system and in the process, influenced neighboring barangays to follow suit.

As in Mati City, he went into backyard gardening and discovered that the compost was excellent for raising cabbages, tomatoes, wongbok (Chinese cabbage), spinach, siling labuyo, eggplant and even taro (gabi).

Laboratory analysis conducted by the Saint Louis University showed that his compost did not contain dangerous elements like lead that are harmful to health. On the contrary, the analysis showed the compost was high-grade.

Eventually, several LGUs in Benguet and Mt. Province decided to adopt the system in processing their biodegradable wastes and as a means to mitigate climate change.

For his efforts, Fangonon has been named one of the outstanding citizens of Baguio for 2013 for his contribution to science and community development.

The Eco-composting receptacle is Fangonon’s answer to the management of solid wastes.

He said the ECR prevents the formation of gasses as compared to sanitary landfill and can accommodate great volumes of bios, citing as an example the five ECRs in Barangay Loakan that process three tons of biodegradable wastes weekly.

He added that the eco-composting provides the “ultimate solution” to waste management since it is able to process big volume of biodegradable wastes without need of fuel or electricity.

He said that unlike a sanitary landfill, eco-composting does not generate leacheate nor does it produce methane gas as experienced in open dumpsites.

“The practice of eco-composting makes it possible for us to compost all biodegradable wastes without generating a great amount of methane and carbon dioxide thus helping slow down global warming,” he said.

An eco-composting receptacle is comprised of bamboo splits hammered firmly to the ground, and spaced as such to allow aeration-hence the absence of leacheate.

The waste is spread out evenly with microbes and earthworms finishing the process of converting the wastes into organic fertilizer.

Incidentally, Fangonon said he has sent copies of his book as well as a proposal to Davao City officials way back in 2015 to help manage the city’s waste but has yet to receive a reply. (JKL)

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