Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura (6th from left) together with Governor Nestor Fongwan (5th From left) of the Province of Benguet and Mayor Gregorio Abalos, Jr. (7th from left) of the Municipality of La Trinidad led the ribbon cutting during the inauguration of the Organic Composting Facility on March 9, 2011.
Photo shows the newly-completed organic composting facility in La Trinidad, Benguet funded by the Japanese Government under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).
Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura attended the turnover ceremony of “The Project for the Improvement of the Organic Composting Facility in the Municipality of La Trinidad, Benguet” on 9 March 2011. Benguet Provincial Governor Nestor Fongwan, La Trinidad Municipal Mayor Gregorio Abalos, Jr. and Mr. Yoichiro Kawasaki, Project Manager of the Japan Agricultural Exchange Council (JAEC), also witnessed the turnover. The p roject, amounting to US$89,993 (approximately 4.1 million pesos ) is funded through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).
The Municipality of La Trinidad is endowed with rich and vast track of agricultural lands, and has the largest v egetable t rading p ost in the Philippines. More than 1,000 tons of vegetable s from entire Benguet P rovince are traded in the municipality. The t rading p ost plays a vital role in the supply of highland vegetables to Metropolitan Manila and other parts of Luzon.
V egetable production in the municipality, however, is facing two major problems. With the high demand for vegetables and other farm products, farmers have started using inorganic fertilizer and pesticide, and the practice has caused soil degradation, poor plant growth and frequent disease outbreaks. Even though farmers want to use organic fertilizer, they have no other choice but to buy chemical-based fertilizer due to the limited supply of organic fertilizer in the municipality.
Another pressing concern is the large quantity (about 60 tons) of vegetable wastes (trimmings) that are disposed at the v egetable t rading p ost every day. The La Trinidad Municipal Government has initiated the processing of these wastes by setting up a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), bu t the volume of organic fertilizer they produce is too small because of its limited capacity. Hence, huge quantity of garbage is still being brought to the open dumpsite, which poses environmental concerns such as foul odor from decomposing garbage and methane gas emission. In addition, toxic liquids leaking out from the garbage dump site eventually contaminate rivers and springs that can adversely affect water sources of the residents.
Given these circumstances, the Municipality of La Trinidad decided to utilize the grant aid from the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines to expand and improve the MRF by constructing additional composting compartments with the technical assistance of JAEC. With the improved facility, the production of organic fertilizer will increase, and farmers will be able to access good quality organic fertilizer at a reasonable price. Th e project will likewise help in reducing the emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen oxides, which cause global warming. The grant aid is also used in purchasing a mini front tractor loader , which will help in load ing , unload ing and mix ing compost materials faster than manual shoveling.
In his speech, Ambassador Katsura stated that this project is useful in various aspects including the possible increase of the agricultural production, the possible increase of the farmer's income and even the mitigation of environmental concerns.
Japan, as the top donor of the official development assistance for the Philippines, launched G GP in the country in 1989 for the purpose of reducing poverty and helping various communities engaged in grassroots activities. As of the end of February 20 11 , 440 grassroots projects funded by GGP – ranging from roughly 1 to 4 million pesos – have been implemented by NGO s , local government units and other non-profit organizations. The total grant for these projects so far amounts to US$ 19,745,127. It is expected that this project will further contribute to fostering a strategic partnership between the two countries towards the future.
Speech of Ambassador Makoto Katsura