MANILA, AUGUST 3, 2009 (PHILIPPINE STAR) By Serafin G. Aquino Jr. - I Introduction: Manila, Philippines - A vast part of our territorial patrimony consists of idle, non-productive cogonal plants from time immemorial. With the advent of the world food crisis, every country is scrambling to solve its own problem. Some solutions may involve the opening up of more lands to produce the needed grain crops. Others may pursue the improvement of the plant species to increase their needed supplies. Still others go for technology as another possible solution.

II Methodology

The FRENTS 100 percent labor-intensive, appropriate, and sustainable technology for constructing arable mini-rice terraces on otherwise idle cogonal lands in the country is ideal for this project. Under this concept, multi-purpose cooperatives will have to be established to serve as the vehicles for 50-hectare or large concessions.

Mini-rice terraces

1. Survey potential rice terraces area.

2. Order the production of the needed unbreakable and reusable plastic molds for the interlocking soil-cement blocks by taking sample IHB to serve as plastic mold to Korean manufacturer.

3. Construct terrace walls by digging up and putting aside the fertile top soil on the terrace above.

4. Then get soil block materials from the course layer under the fertile soil layer.

5. Level the residual of base of each terrace carefully.

6. Plan and level out each terrace according to the layout of the project, then repeat steps 2,3,4.

7. Lay out bottom layer of molded IHBs to serve as the wall of the terraces being worked on with the base layer positioned cross-wise to serve as wall stabilizers or buttresses.

8. Return the stored layer back on the finished terrace and remove all grass and weeds to produce a clean surface for planting rice. Wait for the rains to come before planting the rice.

9. Check/inspect all walls to perfect the finished mini-rice terraces.

Minimum 50-Ha per co-op

1. Every concession shall have adequate area for each co-op and be within walking distance form the home of the planters.

2. Boundaries to be clearly demarcated.

3. Fruit tress like coconut and bananas to be planted five meters from boundary lines.

4. Two overseer families to live within each concession in nipa huts, with said fruit trees plated close to their huts.

5. Each co-op will be responsible to the mass purchase of organic fertilizer, family good supplies, medicines, etc. at wholesale prices advantageous to the family members.

6. Co-op shall be responsible for purchasing the palay produce of members, milling, packing, and selling to big buyers outside.

7. Government medical, dental, etc., teams to make regular visits to each concession.

8. Co-op will maintain a general store for the basic needs of the members such as bicycles, motorcycles, carabaos, bullearts, sleds, etc. based on individual orders.

III Conclusion

This technology will enable people of small communities bounded with hills full of cogon to produce their own hollow blocks, build their own terraces and harvest their own rice crops. Community organization for such activities may need to be arranged possible through the establishment of cooperatives that can also make available locally-produced organic fertilizer for the farmers as well as the sale or rental of hollow blocks among others. Legal procedure for the use of this project of cogonal lands that may be already privately-owned can be formulated by the Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

One important result of this technology is that it will inculcate the spirit of enterprise and self-reliance in our people.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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