The gloomy day of 10 February 2015, and the very rough road going to Barangay Abejao, Salcedo, Eastern Samar did not dampen the spirits of the beneficiacies and DOST VIII Regional Director, Engr. Edgardo M. Esperancilla and his party to conduct a ground breaking ceremonies for the establishment of one (1) unit of shade protected farming system for the production of high value crops of the community in the said barangay. The system that will be erected at Barangay Abejao is one of the two systems that will be erected in the municipality. The other system will be for Barangay Naparaan. There will be a total of 100 farmers that will benefit from the project at 50 farmer-beneficiaries for each barangay (Naparaan and Abejao). The design of the shade farming system with rain catchment system was made by the Eastern Samar State University - Salcedo Campus in coordination with the Visayas State University.
The project is one of the three Yolanda rehabilitation projects funded by the DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) with the other two are being implemented at Jaro, Leyte and Basey, Samar for Cacao Production with Intercropping System and Production of Camote and Gabi, respectively. This project was a take-off from the WorldFish Aquatic and Agricultural System initiated training on high-valued vegetable production just a couple of months as immediate response after the onslaught of the typhoon that shook not only Region VIII but the whole world.
Eastern Samar is a province suitable for the production of wide variety of crops including fruits, vegetables, rootcrops, ornamental and industrial crops. High valued vegetables are seldom produced in Eastern Samar. The primary reason is due to unpredictable weather condition which hinders the growth and development of plants. The large supplies of vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, squash, etc. in the province comes from other places such as Cebu, Mindanao and Luzon.
The municipality of Salcedo was one of the badly hit areas in the province of Eastern Samar by Typhoon Yolanda on 08 November 2013. Primary agricultural resources of this area was destroyed and most affected farmers are those who relied heavily on the coconut as their source of income. The project aims to improve the economic condition of the municipality through S&T interventions on the development of high valued vegetables as alternative to the heavily damaged coconut industry and other farming activities in the said municipality. The production of high valued vegetables project has a duration of one year.
In his message, Director Esperancilla stressed that the communities (beneficiaries of the project) should take an effort to sustain the project so that it can benefit not only the identified 100 beneficiaries but also those who will be interested to venture into vegetable production by making sure the availability of the planting materials ready anytine needed. Beneficiaries from each barangays will be the one to manage the project located in their respective barangay, while the ESSU-Salcedo and the LGU-Salcedo will provide the needed technical assistance and consultancy services. Esperancilla surmised that the realization of the project was through the efforts of the DOST Secretary, Honorable Mario G. Montejo, in his quest to provide immediate solutions and response in putting back the lives of communities affected by the Typhoon Yolanda back into right track.
OIC-Provincial S&T Director for Eastern Samar, Mr. Emiel Prisco Discar, work closely with ESSU-Salcedo and LGU-Salcedo to ensure that expected outputs of the project will be attained and the objectives will be met.
For this project, PCAARRD provided a total fund of Php 997,916.00 while DOST VIII through its Grants-In-Aid Fund for the CY2014 provided Php 292,652.00 while the LGU-Salcedo and the two barangays counterparted a total amount of Php 35,000.00.
After the ground breaking, Director Esperancilla turned-over ceramic filters to the two barangays that will aid them to produced potable and drinking water for domestic use. The filters were produced by the DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI).
The ground breaking ceremonies was witnessed by WorldFish Director for Asia, Dr. Maripaz L. Perez and representatives from an international organization, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), who were in the area for project prospects validation and tapping DOST VIII for a possible collaboration. (By Engr. Ramil Uy, Sr.SRS, DOST VIII & DOST Media Core)