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BRGY. MAHAYAHAY, BONTOC, Southern Leyte, June 17 (PIA)  --  A locally-organized non-government organization (NGO) initiated a massive planting of rootcrops, like cassava, camote, and corn, which will be used later on as raw materials for the production of feeds for a piggery project across the province.
 
Last Sunday, officials of the Southern Leyte Socio-Economic Development, Inc. (SOLSED) watched as farmer-partners planted camote and cassava in a one-hectare lot owned by the Gawad Kalinga village located by the roadside in a rolling hill in this interior barangay.
 
Also watching the initial planting were Amy Aleco, Punong Barangay of Mahayahay and ABC Municipal Federation of Bontoc town, and Cong. Damian Mercado, one of the main founders of SOLSED.
 
In December 2013, SOLSED began a province-wide swine-raising project in Hinundayan with 100 piglets distributed to twenty beneficiaries. 
 
In April this year, the pioneering hog raisers of Hinundayan successfully sold their grown pigs to SOLSED in a “first harvest” ceremony, in which Cong. Mercado foresaw the planting of rootcrop materials soon to be processed into feeds, so that costs on commercial feeds can be reduced.
 
That vision was realized Sunday, June 15, 2014. During the program launching the feed stuff production, Cong. Mercado assured that the farmers’ fruit of their labor will be bought by SOLSED at a higher price than what is prevailing in the market.
 
The raw products of corn, cassava, and camote will then be brought to the feedmill plant in barangay Rizal, Maasin City, to be processed into various finished products of animal feeds, for chicken and pigs, among others, and will be sold to farmers at a lower price than those sold by commercial outlets, Mercado said.
 
He challenged the crop partners to take good care of the plants as their own, and insure a bountiful harvest in three to four months’ time, so they can have extra income for their families.
 
Dudu Cobarubias, Provincial Veterinarian who is closely coordinating with SOLSED, said that Bontoc was chosen as the pilot site planting inputs for feedstuffs due to its wide space, the rolling hills in its countryide.
 
In barangay Mahayahay, Cobarubias said some 12 hectare of open, idle lands were already assessed for use in the feed stuff production, and about half of these assessed lands were already plowed using a tractor lent by the municipal government, which budgeted P 150,000.00 to support the SOLSED initiative.
 
The launching program was also attended by municipal official led by Mayor King Ruales and an expert Consultant on Agriculture from UP Los Banos, Laguna, in the person of Pons Batugal, who is the adviser in the new office of former Senator Kiko Pangilinan.  (PIA8-Southern Leyte)