ECQ opens biz opportunity for couple in Medellin town
Pastor Bayo also shares income from their mushroom farm with other church members
CEBU CITY, Philippines—The implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Cebu opened an opportunity for a family in Barangay Poblacion in Medellin town to venture into growing oyster mushrooms.
Rev. Randolf Bayo, 38, said that his new business has allowed him to provide for the needs of his family and help some members of their church, the Life Builders Converge Church, Baptist Conference of the Philippines. Bayo said that he used to depend on the honorarium that he would get from their church for his family’s needs.
“We pay the one who waters the fruiting bag, isang church member, who makes sure to always spray water to the mushroom,” he said.
Using proceeds from their harvest, Bayo said that he also bought washable facemasks which he distributed to their church members and some frontliners in their area.
Having to work at home also gave him more time with his wife, Lory Jan, and their three children -Ish Jandyl,14; Ish Jaryl, 8; and Ish Janry, 6 – who are also helping him tend their mushroom farm.
Read: Couple from Medellin town grows oyster mushrooms indoors
Bayo said that he learned to grow oyster mushrooms from an economic enterprise training that their church organized with the help of the Engineer Support Battalion, 53rd Engineer Brigade-Phil Army in Medellin town in November 2019.
However, he said that he was unable to immediately put to use his learnings from the training because of the need to also attend to his ministry works.
It was only in April that he found time to finally start his mushroom farm at the back of their house in Sitio Planta in Barangay Poblacion. His farm is designed like a walk-in closet measuring 10 feet by 10 feet.
Bayo said that starting a mushroom farm is easy. All that you needed to do is prepare fruit bags, sawdust, tahop or apog, and water to ensure the proper cultivation of each of the plants.
“We were already able to start making the fruit bags [in] February of this year, but since we were aiming to make 1,000 fruit bags, we were able to finish these just in time when the town was put into ECQ,” he said.
The tricky part happens when you start to steam the fruit bags for at least eight hours before placing these in a dark room for a few weeks to a month. This kind of work requires a lot of patience and attention, he said.
“When bags get the desired white color, it’s ready to hang. Don’t forget to water daily. Wait for the fruit to come out from the fruiting bags -if the fruit comes out, wait or harvest when desired fruit is ready,” Bayo said.
After a month, the couple already harvested around 20 kilos of oyster mushrooms. They are able to harvest one to two kilos of the mushrooms each day and sell these at P280 per kilo.
Now growing 1,000 fruit bags inside their “walk-in closet” the couple is expecting to harvest another 10 to 15 kilos of oyster mushrooms per day after three to five months.
“It is now helping us in church and in providing [for] our needs in the family. Our first initiative was just to have food in our table, now it is giving us more than what we can eat,” he said.
“Selling it [the mushrooms] helps our church ministry as part of the income goes to the ministry. So basically, every buyer is helping not just me and my partners and family but also the church as a whole,” he added.
Bayo said that tending to his mushroom farm has kept him busy and has allowed him to make good use of his time when they could not hold church services because of prohibitions on gatherings. / dcb
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