REPUBLIC Cement, a leading construction solutions provider in the country, recently inaugurated its first agro-farm facility in the quarry site of its Bulacan plant, providing additional livelihood support to its host community.
An agro-farm is primarily involved in growing crops as part of its operation.
A pilot project and the first of its kind, this agro-farm located in the plant’s quarry site in Sitio Alagao in Barangay Minuyan, was opened in November 2018 as part of the company’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (EPEP) and Social Development and Management Program (SDMP).
It currently covers four hectares, which include a 590-square meter nursery and 5.3-square kilometer vegetable farm. The remaining areas will be planted with bamboos and fruit bearing trees.
The nursery and vegetable farm currently serves as training ground for the 57 farming families in Minuyan, where they can enhance their farming skills, with an emphasis on organic farming. Hopefully, the farmers would utilize the same skills and knowledge in their own farms.
“Opening our first agro-farm facility to our host communities gives us the opportunity to extend our assistance and support to the growth and prosperity of the families in our Bulacan plant. We hope we could do more of this in the future, as we go about our mission of building a stronger Republic,” said Nabil Francis, president and CEO of Republic Cement.
The Republic Cement Bulacan plant also launched a vermiculture training center for the local farmers. Residents who are members of the Sulong Pa Minuyan Cooperative were tapped to maintain the facility, generating additional employment for the community.
Meanwhile, Alagao-Banahaw para sa Kaunlaran (ABAKA), a people’s organization established through Republic Cement’s Social Development and Management Program, took the initiative in providing the marketing strategy for the vegetables harvested from the agro-farm. Portion of the produce will also be sold to Republic Cement-supported Kusina ng Kalinga (KnK) in Bulacan. Kusina ng Kalinga (kitchen of care) is Republic Cement’s flagship anti-hunger program established in partnership with Gawad Kalinga.
Conceptualized in 2017, the Republic Cement Bulacan Agro-farm initiative is in response to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) strict direction to the mining industry to practice responsible mining. Through its Mining and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Region 3, a directive was issued to all mining organizations to implement the progressive rehabilitation on every active quarry site. (PR)