Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Entrepreneurial Farmer by Ambrosio R. Villorente

Protecting Peoples Health

On Thursday morning, August 6, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan submitted a proposed ordinance for public hearing. This is “An ordinance Enacting the Health and Sanitation Code of the Province of Aklan”.

Several stakeholders attended the hearing who represented the PHO/DOH, municipal health officers, sanitary inspectors, funeral parlors, food retailers, hotels and restaurants, ambulant vendors, airlines, DTI, and media.

Being the author of the proposed ordinance, Hon. Nelson D. Santamaria presided the public hearing held in the SP Session Hall, Capitol, Kalibo, Aklan. With their comments and suggestions all those who were present agreed with the proposed “Health and Sanitation Code”.

The proposed code is of 60 pages printed on long bond paper, double space. It consists of several provisions. I was looking for the rationale of the proposed ordinance, but I didn’t find any. I just assumed that this proposed code will be executed to improve further the level of Health and Sanitation among Aklanons and Aklan. It defined 369 terms as used in the proposed ordinance which occupied 26 pages of the total 60 pages.
I was specially attracted in Section 115. It concerns piggery, poultry and other livestock/animal farms operating in Aklan. Aklan has an effective daily chicken meat consumption of about 7,500 kilograms. But Aklan has no commercial poultry farm which produces chicken meat except that of former Governor Carlito S. Marquez’ poultry farm. But its production is not enough. Aklan does not produce chicken egg.

Hence, all the eggs eaten daily in Aklan are all imported. Moreover, about 90 percent of chicken meat are also imported.

I recommended that commercial poultry and other livestock projects be located in suitable locations. LGU agricultural technicians be specially assigned to the projects to assist the project owners to sincerely apply scientific method of poultry and other livestock production. Livestock operators must be assisted in their livestock project to improve egg and meat production, improve sanitation and produce other products such as liquefied petroleum gas, and liquid fertilizer. In case of any problem in the poultry and livestock project, the solution is to follow scientific farming method, NOT CLOSURE which was resorted to in the past that led to the annihilation of poultry projects in Aklan.

Irrigation Services

Another provincial ordinance heard is “An Ordinance Providing Basic Policies, Rules and Regulations To Ensure The Continued And Efficient Operation Of Irrigation Services In The Province Of Aklan. The hearing was presided by its author and sponsor, Hon. Emmanuel Soviet Russia A. Dela Cruz. Those who participated in the hearing are representatives of irrigators association, NIA, Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, Aklan, LGUs Agricultural Office, Liga Ng Mga Barangay, SB Committee on Food and Agriculture and media.

The order of hearing started with the usual opening ceremony, opening statement of Vice Gov. Gabrielle V. Calizo-Quimpo, and brief statement from the sponsor, Hon. Soviet Dela Cruz who presided the hearing. He requested those invited stakeholders to briefly give their position statements. Interaction followed that enabled the participants to give their reactions and recommendations. However, deep seated resentments were articulated specially on the lack of water when badly needed.

On the whole, the proposed ordinance is highly welcomed as it is long overdue.

Hon. Dela Cruz requested me to give my recommendations to further improve the ordinance. My first recommendation is the prevention from using irrigation dikes as public toilet. It is not only ugly, but also unhealthy. I also recommended the following:

1.       No plants must be planted on irrigation dikes to prevent soil erosion. Only “Calopogonium” must be planted to prevent soil erosion on irrigation dikes. Calopogonium is a leguminous plant, a vine and will continue growing for years;
2.       Illegal structures  that imped the flow of water must be removed immediately or not more than 10 days after notice is served;
3.       The strict and thorough implementation of the said ordinance must be assigned to the irrigators association for communal irrigation projects and to the National Irrigation Administration for irrigation system under NIA management.

In the interaction process, it appeared that there are more rice land area than the capacity of the present irrigation system to supply adequate water in time of needs. Its inadequate water supply reduces rice production per unit area per season. It must be remembered that rice is hydrophonic plant. It will not bear grain if water is lacking. According to IRRI, to produce one (1) kilogram of palay, it needs 1500 kilograms of water from land preparation up to the ripening stage of palay.

Hence, Aklan LGU needs to identify the rice areas which can be supplied fully with water. Those without sufficient water must be identified and be planted to high value crops such as fruit trees. Those trees will also serve as windbreaks, prevent soil erosion and store of water. Trees will improve ecology and give more income to the owners. /MP

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