This is an Entry to the Government Best Practice Recognition Awards
Black Gold from Natural Waste
Central Philippines State University
Best practice Focus Area(s)
“Black Gold from Natural Waste” is an agricultural state university’s initiative to complement the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) of the government with the institution’s expertise in organic farming technology. It is a pivotal move in creating an industry in the rural areas, uplifting countryside economy, and protecting the environment. The program is an original initiative of Central Philippines State University (CPSU) led by the Office of the President. It was started in November 2018 and has attracted adopters and interests from various individuals and sectors.
Background and Problem
The TES is a component of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act. It is intended for beneficiaries’ education-related expenses such as books, transportation, supplies, room and board fees. Oftentimes, however, the TES is not spent on its intended purpose but rather on the family’s immediate needs such as food and medicine. This means a drain of the money and the deprivation of the student of the resource to pursue his/her education. To maximize the use of this fund coming from the government, the university started the initiative in order to:
- Train 200-300 families to adopt organic farming practices in 5 to 10 years,
- Develop the capabilities of the family to become farmer entrepreneurs,
- Create models of the household-based industry in the rural areas,
- Create options or innovations for food security of the households, and
- Train students to become agri-entrepreneurs.
Solution and Impact
The institution targeted to train 200-300 families to adopt organic farming practices and create a household-based industry in rural areas. To achieve these, the university needed to engage communities and acquire funding.
However, in the past, small farmers have been wary about external interventions that did not help them or in worst cases, exploited their situation. The university deviated from the usual practice of relying heavily on a document-based approach at the start of the program. Instead, implementers introduced technology first and let the farmers see the benefits of the practice. In this way, trust was established, and change was introduced sustainably.
CPSU set the situation for the collaboration to happen in this manner:
- The university as an agriculture-based institution developed and perfected the technology on organic farming (vermicomposting),
- It conducted environmental scanning to look for possible sectors that would readily adopt and embrace the technology,
- Based on the assessment, the university chose the parents of the TES beneficiaries on the following basis:
- The technology suits their needs considering that 90% of students come from farming families, and
- Most own farms of 1 or 1.5 ha. that are appropriate for a small family to be converted into an integrated organic farm
- The university provided hands-on coaching and training, and
- It introduced the idea of investing in the annual P40,000 TES on organic farming.
The immediate results of the practice are:
- Reduction of up to 60% of production costs mainly from inorganic fertilizer inputs
- Generation of employment for the family
The impacts are:
- Increased harvest and income
- Increased capacity of the families to send the children to school
- Development of industry in the rural areas
- Growth and development of the province
- Boosting of Negros’ reputation as an organic farming province
- Launching of vermicomposting technology at the main campus
- production of 16 tons of vermicompost and creation of at least 18 job contracts
- Replication in extension campuses
- The orientation of plan to parents of TES beneficiaries
- Farmers approached and adopted the technology
- Awarding of Seal of Good Environmental Governance
- Initial understanding for a collaboration with the Office of Provincial Agriculturist