LAOAG CITY – Officials and residents in Batac, Ilocos Norte are looking forward to having a more stable supply of bamboo products this year following the launch of a one-hectare Bamboo Research and Development (R&D) station in the village of Mabaleng.
With funding of PHP1.2 million from the Department of Agriculture (DA), the research and development project of the state-run Mariano Marcos State University aims to enhance bamboo production and profitability through the application of bamboo technologies in nursery establishment, production of planting materials, and rehabilitation of bamboo strands.
Charlie Batin, bamboo project leader, said Thursday around 100 bamboo propagules were initially planted in the area in partnership with 20 bamboo farmers in Barangays Mabaleng and Payao who were trained in bamboo production and nursery establishment.
This is apart from the existing 300 bamboo strands or clumps in the area that will be rehabilitated to produce quality bamboo poles and planting materials for the establishment of more bamboo plantations in various parts of the province.
Batin said the growing bamboo industry offers a huge potential to Ilocano farmers looking for an alternative livelihood to increase their income.
Aside from serving as a laboratory and training site for students, farmers, and other community members, and an experimental area for bamboo-based agroforestry, the station will also be developed as an eco-tourism site in Batac.
“Through this initiative, we aim to help empower you to increase your income while taking part in protecting the environment and in sustaining bamboo in the locality,” MMSU president Shirley Agrupis told farmer-cooperators during the launch of the bamboo R&D station on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Mabaleng village chief Jonathan Laud thanked the proponents of the project for choosing their village to host it.
Other collaborating agencies are the DA Regional Field Office 1, the city government, and the municipalities of Paoay and Badoc.
Partner farmer cooperatives and associations are the Sitio Katartaraan Morong Farmer's Association, Inc. in Badoc, Mabaleng Bamboo Craft Makers' Association in Batac, and Mumulaan Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Inc. in Paoay. (PNA)