Issue of January 8, 2017

66th Courier Anniversary Issue
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2 sitios adopt odorless tech in raising hogs
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

HOG RAISING PROJECT -- About 67 families from two sitios of Barangay Ampucao in Itogon, Benguet will benefit from a hog-raising project to be funded by Philex Mining Corp. with an initial fund of P1 million. Here, members of the Sta. Fe and Quarry Livelihood Association and Philex employees visit an organic farm that also maintains a hog-raising corner in La Trinidad, Benguet. -- Contributed photo



Sixty-seven households in Barangay Ampucao in Itogon, Benguet are in for a profitable year and onwards with the use of a Korean technology for raising hogs under the tutelage of a successful local organic farm expert and through the support of a mining company’s livelihood support program for its host communities.

The 67 households of sitios Sta. Fe and Quarry, represented by the officers and members of Sta. Fe and Quarry Livelihood Association (SQuaLa), visited the Lily of the Valley Organic Farm owned by organic farm specialist Jefferson Laruan of La Trinidad, Benguet to learn about the state-of-art technology on organic farming and hog-raising that does away with water in keeping pigpens clean.

The visit was ushered by gold and copper producer Philex Mining Company officials, whose operation is hosted partly by Itogon, and which has infused P1 million as capital for the livelihood of the Ampucao residents, from the company’s Community Development Program for its 2014 exploration project at the Bumolo area of the barangay.   

Laruan said the secret to the process he uses to raise hogs in an odorless environment is to mix wood vinegar, called mokusaku, into the pigs’ drinking water. The mokusaku, he explained, deodorizes pig’s wastes. It is also sprayed around the pigpens to counter any foul smell. 

He added that the pigs he raises, which are Hampshire and native breeds, are fed with the leaves of organic vegetables grown in the farm and mixed with organic feeds. The farm has broccoli, sweet peas, Baguio beans, French beans, cauliflower, cherry tomato, red and green cabbage, sweet potato, cucumber, spinach,  lettuce, leek, lemon, watercress, sugar beet, and kale, among other vegetables. It also has herbs like Swiss chard, mint, basil, tarragon, and rosemary.

SQuaLA president Abel Magamba said the project is a great help for them since the technology suits the location of their target livelihood project said during the familiarization tour conducted on the two-hectare organic farm of Laruan. “We can also replicate its organic vegetable farming in our own backyards,” he added.

“Organic farming and organic hog-raising could well sustain our own consumption needs as well as provide us with an additional income-generating project,” Magamba said.

He said the association is on the process of drawing up the detailed project proposal that they will submit to Philex Mining for the release of their fund support.

The Ampucao association is optimistic about the project considering that sitios Sta. Fe and Quarry are highlands, a requirement in using the technology, which stresses the avoidance of flood incidence during rainy season, as well as the need for adequate wind and sunlight penetration into the pigpen.

The technology also requires at least 1.5 square meters of space for each pig and two to three feet deep organic materials, such as coconut husk or newly milled rice hull, as bedding on the soil flooring of the pigpen.

Laruan said this inoculated deep litter floor that composts manure and processes toxins, all done naturally by the pigs, is another key method in maintaining a no-smell, no cleaning system in a pigpen.

Manuel Agcaoili, senior vice president of Philex Mining and resident manager of its Padcal operations in Benguet, said the company will release the earmarked amount to the families’ group upon its submission of the detailed project proposal covered by a memorandum of agreement.

He said the project has been hatched following a series of consultations between Philex Mining, the two sitios, and Ampucao Punong Barangay Eddie Amuasen.

Itogon, along with Tuba, hosts Philex’s gold and copper production in Benguet, which has helped build communities through the implementation of social development and environmental protection programs in its host and neighboring villages over the past six decades of responsible mining.

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