|Dr. Frank de la Pena and Mayor Jun Evasco|
One municipal head who is really serious in propagating organic farming in his own town is Mayor Leoncio “Jun” Evasco of Maribojoc, Bohol. We met him at an organic agriculture presentation at the Natural Farming Institute in Panabo City last March 19.
The presentation was attended by the head of the Agricultural Training Institute, officials of TESDA, Department of Trade and Industry executives, farmers, Davao City officials and other stakeholders.
Mayor Evasco is in the process of setting up the facilities for a demo farm and training center on organic agriculture in Brgy. Bayacaba, Maribojoc. He has already planted 10 kinds of grasses and several leguminous shrubs on two hectares that will be used as feed for the farm animals. The buildings for goats, pigs, office and some other facilities are already up. In the process of construction is a fermentation house where the fermented juices of fruits, vegetables and other plants will be processed for use in organic farming. He says training will start middle of this year when everything will already be in place.
A former priest who was also a former member of the New People’s Army who returned to the fold of the law, Jun is now in his second term as mayor of Maribojoc. In 2010, he was adjudged national winner of the Seal of Good Housekeeping given by the Department of Interior and Local Governments for which he was given a P1-million cash award that he can use in whatever project he chooses. In 2011, he won again and was again given the same amount. This year, he made it again.
Mayor Evasco is using his cash awards for the training center and demo farm. To prepare for his project, he himself underwent training at the Natural Farming Instute of Frank de la Pena in Panabo City. The members of the town council, the staff of the municipal agriculture office have also undergone training in Panabo.
He said that Maribojoc is a small town with no tourist destinations to speak of. However, he has something in mind that will fit well with the tourism boom in Bohol where there are a lot of resorts and tourist attractions. He said, he plans to make Maribojoc the producer of organic vegetables, fruits, fish and meat for the tourists patronizing the resorts and hotels in his province.
Aside from the farmers, those who will be trained at the center will include the barangay officials, women and out-of-school youth.
The trainees will undergo hands-on practice in growing organic crops that include vegetables and fruits, organic chickens, pigs and goats, and organic fish. Mayor Evasco said that ponds for hito and tilapia are already in place.
The goat house for 12 milking animals is also ready for occupancy. The women could as well take care of goats which they can feed with grasses and legumes they can grow in their backyard. They could also process organic food products.
Mayor Evasco also has his own vision of having a tourist attraction in Maribojoc someday. He said that the town is traversed by a big river, the Abatan river, which originates in the mountains of Central Bohol, passing through four other towns. Some day they will come up with a floating market for organic products in the Abatan river, something like the floating market in Thailand.
That would be really something to see, not only for foreign but also for local tourists.