In Barangay Manalog, Hinunangan, Southern Leyte lives a hard-working woman with the name of Norma Adlao. She is married to Artemio Adlao who works abroad. She is an example of a woman who is eager to augment whatever income her husband can send home. Her children are still in school and that is her prime motivator to augment the family’s income.
She was already into pig-raising in addition to cultivating her small, one-lot rice field, even before she heard of sustainable agricultural practices from SPIADFI and DISOP.
She was practicing the traditional method as she learned it from her parents. In the traditional way, she used to raise three (3) sows only. Her piggery was for fattening. Through time, the number of heads in the piggery fluctuates. When the sows give birth, the number of animals increase in number, only to decrease again once the piglets have reached the fattened stage when they are sold. The number of sows is steady.
Three (3) years back, Norma became a member of a local People’s Organization (PO) called SAMASAMA (Samahang Mangbubukid sa Manalog). She joined the PO in order to learn more about how to improve her piggery and the productivity of her relatively small rice field.
Her expectation to learn more in the context of her PO became a reality. Her PO became one of the partner-beneficiaries of the intervention of DISOP through the SPIADFI. Being so, her PO was a recipient of a seminar on sustainable agricultural practices.
From the seminar, she was able to learn how to switch from the traditional way to the more sustainable manner of running her piggery. She learned what she calls the “Korean piggery”.
At the beginning, she was not able to appreciate the integrated nature of the new methods she had just learned. The first thing she did was to start with her piggery. With the help of some hired labor, she converted a part of her piggery into the new technology. She hauled a significant amount of rice husks which she got for free from the local rice mill to be used for the floor of the modified piggery.
Using the prescribed proportion of loose soil and salt, she mixed these with the rice husks and filled up a previously dug pit up to the designed floor level of the pig pen.
The floor proves to be cool for the pigs so that there is no need to use water to bathe them constantly to control their body temperature. The floor sufficiently provides the thermal control. Furthermore, the floor satisfies the snout-digging instinct of the pigs.
After some weeks, the floor, through the process of decomposition, is removed to be used as potent organic fertilizer. Every cycle of five and a half (5 ½) months, she gathers one hundred seventy (170) sacks of fertilizer. This fertilizer she uses in her rice field.
She has already scaled down the use of inorganic fertilizer in her rice field and will totally go organic by 2014. She realized that using organic fertilizer has significantly minimized her expenses for farm inputs.
So far, while she has just been scaling down the use of inorganic fertilizer, the rice harvest has increased by 50%, from the usual forty (40) 4-gallon tin containers to sixty (60). She is enthusiastically hopeful to increase the harvest to double once she fully utilizes the organic fertilizer from her piggery.
Back to her piggery, Norma is starting to expand. She made the decision to expand after the profitable sale of sixteen (16) fattened pigs. The pigs were sold at the age of 5 months, a half month less than the desirable term to be most profitable. The heaviest animal in the latest batch that she sold weighed eighty-eight (88) kilos.
“I decided to sell earlier than schedule because of the scarcity of meat in Leyte due to the aftermath of super-typhoon “Yolanda”. People were coming over and asking me to sell to them for food. But, anyway, I still have some heads left for fattening”.
Norma is definite that her income has increased. With the expansion on the way, she expects much more benefits out of her piggery. Side by side with the development of her piggery is the improvement of the production from her rice field.
When asked whether she is raising her own vegetable garden, considering that she has enough organic fertilizer at her disposal, she said she intends to go into vegetable gardening later.
“My husband is planning to come home for good. When he does, we will go into gardening, too. As of now, how I wish I had more hands to do what I like to do. With this new technology, I am getting to enjoy what I am doing.”
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