Poblacion Organic Vegetable Growers member and currently  Barangay Poblacion councilor on Agriculture, Carlito E. Estuaria, checks the communal garden.

The RCI TWG Bicol never runs out of ideas to improve the lives of the communities within their reach. Through the Progresibong Gulayan sa Barangay Project launched on August 2021, RCI TWG Bicol aims to promote organic agriculture in the municipality of Sorsogon.

Seven barangays included in the Convergence Area of Development Plan (CADP) for Pili River Watershed started to lay out their 20-sq.m-community garden as their entry for the contest. Rural Improvement Clubs (RICs) and community organizations in the barangays of Maypangi, San Isidro, San Rafael, Monte Carmelo, Oras, Dancalan, and Poblacion participated in the two-day training on Organic Agriculture to learn the necessary skills and knowledge on the preparation of organic fertilizers and pesticides.

According to Castilla OIC-Municipal Agriculturist Manuel Marantal, this project is one way to ensure food sustainability and availability amidst the pandemic.

RIC-President and Maypangi Barangay Captain Floriña Balaquiao shared that the group has planted cassava, okra, string beans, pechay, pineapple, radish, and eggplants in

their communal garden. They utilized plastic bottles to create plots in different shapes and sizes.

“The training and its application to the communal garden will capacitate us to produce safe vegetables for our community and will eventually boost the economy of the barangay,” added Balaquiao.

San Isidro Organikong Gulayan sa Barangay member Antonia Lazar related that their communal garden is planted with sili, pechay, kangkong, eggplants, string beans, okra, upo, and lettuce.

“We will be using concoctions made from animal manure, vinegar, binurong kangkong and madre de cacao, IMO, and molasses,” said Lazar.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Bucol Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulations and Regional Convergence Initiative for Sustainable Rural Development (RCI-SRD) Focal Person, Dr. Edgar R. Madrid, underscored the important role of community gardens and the cooperation of stakeholders as primary movers in the food production industry.

“Nagpapasalamat kami sa pagtanggap ng mga taga-Sorsogon sa inisyatibang ito ng mga agencies. Mahalaga ang kanilang kooperasyon upang magtagumpay ang proyektong ito,” Dr. Madrid added.

Poblacion Organic Vegetable Growers member and Barangay Poblacion councilor on Agriculture Carlito E. Estuaria cited that the harvest of vegetables in the communal garden would be shared with the community and the excess would be sold to the market.

The Progresibong Gulayan sa Barangay Project is led by the Department of Agriculture-Bicol and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). The best community garden will receive P10,000 based on landscaping, use of organic fertilizer and pesticides, and cooperation of the participating members.  ###