Over 130 farmers in Barangay Tarusan, Bataraza received some P50,000-worth of materials from Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) to help them build their mushroom production fruiting house as an additional source of income.
Tarusan Farmers Producers Cooperative (TAFPCO) vice-chairman Nelio Giganto said Monday that the materials provided by the mining company will be used for the establishment of a fruit house facility for mushroom culturing and production purposes.
The TAFPCO was established in November 2014 for the purpose of coffee production, while waiting for the possible market of their harvest, the group tried to venture in mushroom production by October last year after demands have been observed in Bataraza.
“Sa mushroom naging maganda ang resulta ng unang pagtanim namin kaya lang nong production namin nong February (2020) target namin ay 5,000 bags yon gaming aalagaan. Kaya lang nong inabutan kami ng lockdown, hindi na kami naka-avail ng semilya sa DA dahil wala ng biyahe,” he said.
“Inabutan kami ng drought, di pala masyadong productive ang mushroom kapag summer. Ang aming area na aming nilagyan nakaraan ay malapit sa basakan, ang mushroom ay fungus, panay spray ng farmer ng pesticide sa kanilang basakan so nag-isip kami na mag-expand kaya dito sa Barangay Iwahig ang aming napag-usapan,” he added.
Giganto said that based on their estimates, they harvest mushroom daily from production and the return of investments can already be seen after a month. He said that there is a high demand observed in the markets of the town.
After TAFPCO expanded its planting site in barangay Iwahig, the group is aiming to produce 10 kilos of mushroom a day.
Through the support extended by RTNMC, the cooperative would establish a new mushroom fruiting house with lights. They will also purchase plastic and steel drums for the substrate.
“Ngayon ang napag-usapan ng board na ang substrate ay ipo-provide na ng miyembro ng coop, siya ang magba-bag at magtatanim ng semilya bago ilagay sa fruiting house ng coop. Kapag tumubo, saka babayaran ang miyembro ng 15 pesos per bag. Doon masisiguro na bago namin ilalabas ang pera ay talagang sigurado meron nang tumutubong mushroom sa fruiting,” he said.
He said that the new rule of the cooperative would help lessen the contamination in the fruiting house, which also became a problem of their operation.
TAFPCO also looks forward to plans of value-adding on their harvested mushroom, such as mushroom burger patty and dried mushroom.
“Una, mataas ang demand then madali siya gawin, nasa loob lang siya ng fruiting house. Within 30 days, makakabalik ang investment, ito ang isang potential na nakita namin,” he said.
The members of the cooperative also venture in other farming activities such as rice and vegetable farming, corn production, and charcoal briquetting.
“Kung wala ‘yong RTN, siguro masabi natin na hanggang panaginip o hanggang youtube na lang ‘yong mushroom (production) kasi mula sa training, doon kami kumuha ng pondo sila. Nag-training ‘yong pitong miyembro ng coop sa DA, lahat ng nagastos ay mula sa RTN,” he said.
The budget allocated for the continuous support for the mushroom production of TAFPCO comes from the Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) of the barangay.