By Dr. Josephine Asuncion R. Emoy of The Cenphilian
Extension and Community Services Office, College of Agriculture and Forestry, Graduate School and Hinoba-an Campus sponsored the two-day Training-Workshop on Mushroom Production and Vermi Composting to the 542nd Engineer Construction (Pathfinder) Battalion, 53rd Engineer Brigade, Philippine Army at Brgy. Caradio-an, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental last October 4-5, 2019.
The activity was a response of the University to the request of Battalion Commander, LTC Diomedes P. Balino, to extend knowledge on effective and simple agricultural practices as part of their livelihood and community project. In the Opening Program, Maj. Neil Joey N. Mina, Battalion Executive Officer, expressed his gratefulness to CPSU for actively responding to their invitation and for forging partnership with them in this endeavor.
Dr. Aladino C. Moraca, CPSU President, Dr. Joel Perez, Vice-President for Research and Extension, Dr. Mae Flor G. Posadas, Dean of the Graduate School and Ms. Joe-an Mae Escober, Mushroom Project In-Charge and faculty member of Hinobaan Campus along with three other personnel from the Hinobaan and The Cenphilian documentation team attended the said activity, while there were sixty (60) from the military troupe who participated in the said training. The CPSU team provided all the materials as starter kits for the said training like the mushroom spawns and the 10 kilos of African Night Crawler worms for the Vermi compost.
The second part was the lecture on the theory and process of mushroom production, from the preparation and sterilization of materials needed, to spawning, and making the fruiting bags which was discussed by Ms. Escober. She started by highlighting the significance of this project between the army and the academe in fulfilling their individual roles in the community and the nation. After which, she proceeded to the main purpose of the lecture by stressing the importance of following the exact procedure and mixture in preparing the fruiting bags to avoid contamination. In the afternoon was the actual demonstration and hands-on application in mixing the substrates, preparing the mushroom fruiting bags and placing them in the Mushroom House that the group had also set up after planting the mushrooms which happened in the second day. Ms. Escober together with her team from the Hinobaan Campus, Mr. Noe T. Hermosa, Reyjie A. Rodriguez and Wrayger Cayang, also helped the troupe in preparing their vermi bed for the vermi compost after explaining to them how the worms should be fed, when is the time to harvest the vermi cast, as well as their benefits and uses.
In a closed-door conversation with LTC Balino, Maj. Mina and the CPSU team, Dr. Moraca emphasized that extension programs like this is one of the main functions of the University to be able to share effective technology, give free trainings, current practices and methods in agriculture and allied fields that may help alleviate lives and develop livelihood of the people in the nearby communities and regions, especially to the local farmers. “Foreseeing the University to be the champion in technology in the next ten (10) years, this is technology in action. The framework of CPSU is to maximize utilization and investment of money in the right project,” Dr. Moraca explained. He further stated that this extension program of the school is not actually given for free to them, but that in return, the troupe has the task to extend this technology to at least fifty-five (55) farmers or households within their community so that this practice would spread and become part of their farming practices and in turn, uplift their lives.
With that, LTC Balino committed to transfer these technologies they learned to serve as livelihood and anti-insurgency program to their community which are practical, less costly but effective. “Projects must be suitable to the climate of the place to be effective, just like these technologies that would truly help our farmers,” Balino added. Dr. Moraca agreed with him stating that innovations and methods to be introduced to the farmers and the community must be aligned to their livelihood so that they would embrace it. “The Legacy we leave is what people would remember from us for the rest of their lives,” Dr. Moraca said at the end of their conversation.