Considered to be a landlocked community, Brgy. Payauan in Candoni, Negros Occidental boasts of about 2,086 hectares of land area and the potential of growing all types of crops and commodities such as rice, sugarcane, corn, peanuts, ginger, and banana. While all of this sounds good in reality, most of the farmers in the community have no capability to maximize the production of their farmlands.

With no appropriate system, the farming is greatly influenced by chemical farming which results to depletion of soil fertility and even harm to human health. Also, the community faces the challenge of limited access to water for various utilization like for the use during drought season, care for animals, watering the garden, pond, and even taking a bath and washing their clothes.

Aside from that, most of the farmers continue to purchase vegetables and fruits in the market where safety of the acquired food is at stake.

Moreover, the resident’s intake of food with high nutritional value is also relatively absent in which can be addressed by the community itself having numerous crops in the backyard.

Taking the step of creating an appreciation to the capability of their land, the EcoAgri Foundation, an NGO that aims to advocate organic farming with proper machine and equipment, partners with the Department of Science and Technology to assist the farmers of the community in providing a farming system through its Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) Program.

The beneficiaries under the Livelihood/Economic Enterprise Development will involve the three (3) organized farmers associations namely Alunoy-Payauan Irrigators Association, Payauan Farmers Association and Tablas Sitau Small Water Impounding System Association.

The farmer associations will be provided with organic composting demonstration centers spread in strategic areas of the barangay using vermiculture technology and will be installed with three units of customized water harvesting facility for home uses, care for animals, gardening, pond maintenance, bathing and washing clothes.

With this component, the project foresees to transform farmers and or farming families by gradually producing or processing their own organic fertilizer through the vermi composting method for input use in their own garden and farm.

Meanwhile, the program will conduct forum on Food and Safety and Pinggang Pinoy and install the first digital science library STARBOOKS to the community’s rural barangay school.

Pursuing an eco-friendly and a prepared community in times of disaster, the program will also provide planting materials for increased forest cover, forum on environmental protection/waste management, and provide IEC materials and forum on disaster risk reduction.

Recently, the EcoAgri President Mr. Ramon D. Uy, Sr., Executive Director and Project Team Leader Mr. Danny C. Moraca, and DOST VI Representative Engr. Allan Francis P. Daraug signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between DOST VI and EcoAgri, Inc. to pursue the project.

Immediately after the signing of the MOA, the fund amounting to PhP1,454,198.40 was released to the partner agency for the implementation of the project. (JJMoleño/SSalazar/DOST VI-KMU)