SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union-Thirty three farmers here who participated in a season-long field school on integrated pest management for lowland vegetable production demonstration, were lauded by City Mayor Pablo C. Ortega, after a Field Day/ harvesting activity that was held in Barangay Bangbangolan, yesterday.Mayor Ortega, who went with vice Mayor Herminigildo Gualberto and Councilor Ramon Laudencia at the site, to gather ampalayas (bitter gourd), eggplants, squash, Astig pepper, tomatoes and okra in 1, 000-square-meter lot, said that this is one way to promote vegetable products in the countryside and praised the farmers for their efforts.
Joan Pasca, city agriculture’s high-value commercial development program coordinator, facilitated the training of farmers for 16 weeks, from June 7 and ends up in September 27. “I demonstrated to the farmers to use different treatment for plants on every plot (of soil),” she said.
Pasca, who got into “training of trainers” on lowland vegetable production for four months at the Agricultural Training Institute in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan, said that they experimented on the use of the following;
Plot 1- farmer’s practice or the usual farming on 44 sq. meters of lot; Plot 2- Urea on 32 sq. meters lot; Plot 3- inorganic fertilizer (synthetic chemical) on 36 sq. meter-lot; Plot 4- organic (compost and vermicast) on 40 sq.-meters; and Plot 5-inorganic and organic combined on 42 sq.-meter-lot.
“Soil analysis is one of the parameter in determining what nutrient deficient in the soil,” Pasca explained and added that they enclosed marigold plants in these gardens as insect repellant. It was learned that oregano and lemon grass are also good in thwarting insects.
Mayor Ortega, who was also given some of the harvested vegetables to take home, added that the activity and the city is trying to promote a insecticide-free farming while Pasca, according to the farmers who have cooked the vegetables, taste sweeter and deemed to be more fleshy.
The whole production of 245.54 kilograms of vegetables was planted last April, with mostly eggplants focused on approximately 200 sq. meter-lot with the farm gate price being Php20.00 per kilogram.
Vegetable production and backyard gardening is one of the main livelihood and hobbies in coastal San Fernando aside from fishing. William C. Garcia, Jr.- City Media Bureau