Saturday, August 11, 2007


by Marciano Paroy Jr.

The Kalinga-Apayao State College has just been named by the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development (PCAMRD) as one of the 16 vermiculture centers in the Philippines – and the only one in the region.
College President Eduardo Bagtang and Mr. Herbert Imatong are behind the project titled “Implementation of Natural Vermicompost and Vermimeal Production” which has been allotted P1 million, straight from the coffers of PCAMRD in Los BaƱos, Laguna through Executive Director Rafael Guerrero III.
According to project associate Herbert Imatong, “the vermi or earthworms are important in enriching the soil with organic matter which comes from biodegradable materials such as dead plants and animals that the earthworms ingest. “
Dr. Jovita Saguibo, Research Director, added that “The castings of earthworms, also known as vermi-compost, is an excellent soil enhancer and high-quality fertilizer for organic farming. This is a perfect alternative to using chemical fertilizers, and this has been proven in field tests. Earthworms can also be made into vermi-meal – a feed for fish and other domesticated animals.”
The “African Nightcrawler” (Eudrilus eugeniae) is the earthworm species suited to be grown in the Philippines for the production of vermi-compost and vermi-meal. Vermi-compost is used or sold as organic fertilizer for plant and crop farming. Vermi-meal is used as an alternative for imported fish meal that we feed to fish and other farmed animals.
As the overall project coordinator, Dr. Eduardo Bagtang assured PCAMRD that the vermiculture station in KASC can sustain the production of at least one ton of earthworm biomass in an area of at least 1,000 sq.m. monthly.
“At present, earthworms are sold at P600/kilo,” Mr. Imatong further explained. “But with this project, we hope to bring down the cost to P30/kilo. When the demo-farm will be fully established, it will serve as a facility for techno-demonstration, training and information service for CAR provinces.”
For vermiculture projects all throughout the country, PCAMRD has been allocated with P17.9 million by the National Economic Development Authority through the Philippine-Japan Support for Underprivileged Farmers.
The PCAMRD is the sectoral council of the Department Of Science and Technology tasked in the formulation of strategies, policies, plans, programs and projects for science and technology development; Programming and allocation of the government's internal and external funds for Research and Development; Monitoring and Evaluation of Research Development projects; and Generation of external funds.

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