THE Department of Agriculture (DA) Davao Region and the Apostles of Jesus Crucified (AJC) Sisters managing the Padre Pio’s Home for Children orphanage in Tugbok, Davao City recently had a training partnership where the sisters were trained in crop and vegetable production, as well as livestock management.
In an interview with Sister Maria Elisabetta D. Mapa, she said they had been managing this agricultural property that they have. The orphanage, which is located in Tugbok proper, is 15 minutes away from their agricultural property located in Biao Guianga.
However, because of limited knowledge and financial resources, they are afraid they wouldn’t be able to further sustain and would leave the land idle. Before they decided to request training and partnership with DA, they had already started with corn planting and taking care of cattle.
Early this year, the orphanage decided to contact DA to ask for help. Before, they had been coordinating with them to borrow facilities such as the tractor, but it was only this year that they participated in a series of training.
DA-Davao Region Science Research Assistant Raymund M. Antiola said they provided the sisters and the older orphans with lecture training on corn production, livestock management, and vegetable growing. He said upon receiving the request of the sisters, they went to the area for site inspection and were personally joined by DA-Davao Regional Director Ricardo Onate himself.
During the last week of January, they were able to oversee the planting of monggo, peanut, kangkong, kamote, kalabasa, upo and patola. Next week, the sisters are also scheduled to transplant the seeds germinated by DA specifically the talong, kamatis, and pipino. All the seeds were provided by the DA Davao Region High Value Crops Development Program.
They also have perimeter plants to be planted in the area such as the tanglad, malunggay, and the mosquito-repellant marigold.
Antiola said the orphanage has about 6,000 square meters (sqm) for their corn, 4,000 sqm for the vegetables, and about a hectare or so for their cattle. Mapa shared they currently have 16 cows under their care and four pigs.
“First time namin mag-training and we’re happy na all-out support naman talaga ang DA. Marami kaming natutunan paano mag-manage ng livestock kasi kung yung ginagawa na namin, lugi pala kami. So marami talaga kaming natutunan sa training,” said Mapa, who added they also learned the proper fertilizer application schedule and how to make a profit from their products.
She said they plan to grow the crops, vegetables and livestock for their own consumption but hopefully, when the yield becomes more successful, they will be able to also sell these.
Sixteen sisters currently take part in the project while also taking care of the 30 orphan children. Out of this number, about seven high school students were made part of the training and the planting.
“Makikita po ang eagerness to apply the technology that we taught them. Willing po silang gawin ang binigay namin na instructions. Mabilis po ang response on their end and makikita pong nag-eenjoy sila sa ginagawa nila,” said Antiola.