June 14, 2024

MANKAYAN, Benguet – The Bosigan Vegetable Farm in Barangay Balili in Mankayan, Benguet is up for expansion through the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (Setup) of the Department of Science and Technology.

Owned and managed by Wegina and Mike Lodias, the Bosigan Vegetable Farm, through the Benguet Provincial S&T Center of the DOST-Cordillera, first availed of the Setup in 2016 and was awarded with drip irrigation with fogger kit technology for the greenhouse and outdoor farm.

Since the new technology was completely installed in 2017, Wegina said production in their 5,000-square meter farm has greatly improved. It is also saving them time, and the tedious work of manually watering their vegetable crops.

From an annual average harvest of 4,000 to 8,000 kilograms of highland vegetables, the half-hectare farm’s annual average production increased to almost 20,000 kilograms of mostly Japanese cucumber, and bell pepper, she shared. 

Wegina said the government intervention is helpful to their livelihood.

Dakkel ti tulong na daytoy nga loan nga uray pay bayadan mi iti government ta adda ti grace period na nga one year. Isu nag agmula kami pay, no agapit saminto sagsagabassiten nga isubli iti DOST,” she said.

The Lodais couple completed the refund of the financial assistance of P500,000 in 2020.  

Wegina said they again tried availing of the Setup to expand their farm. Last year, the Bosigan farm was awarded with a P3.5 million assistance for farm expansion, greenhouse construction, and drip irrigation     installation. The project is ongoing. 

Wegina, in an interview over Radyo Pilipinas, expressed gratitude to the DOST Benguet PSTC for giving them the opportunity to avail of the SETUP, which has improved their productivity and competitiveness through the infusion of new or advanced technologies.

“Our farm really leveled up through the technology upgrading,” she said.

For 2024, eight Setup proposals have been approved through DOST PSTC Benguet, with a total of around P7.4 million worth of technology upgrading. 

A flagship program of the DOST, the Setup provides financial and technical assistance to micro, small, and medium enterprises  for technology acquisition, needed equipment and equipment upgrading, technical training and consultancy services, packaging and label design, database information systems, and support for establishment of product standards.

Recipient MSMEs will refund to the DOST for a period of three years without interest after their businesses have taken off. – Carlito Dar