Archive for April, 2009

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Baao Municipal Council ordinance on sus agri passes third reading

Baao, Camarines Sur – The Municipal Council on Monday passed in third and final reading an ordinance promoting organic farming and sustainable agriculture in this chiefly agricultural town in support of national government efforts to promote organic farming in the country.

Once approved, Municipal Ordinance No. 01 Series of 2009 otherwise known as the Baao Organic Sustainable Agriculture Ordinance will pave the way for the annual allocation of P500,000 in support of organic farming practices in the Municipality of Baao, says agriculture committee chairman Councilor Eduardo B. Bacsain.

The said amount shall be appropriated from the first available Supplemental budget for the current year while the succeeding appropriation shall be provided in the regular budget every year thereafter, which shall be equivalent to 5 percent of the 20 percent Municipal Development Fund of Baao, he said.

Aside from the annual allocation, the ordinance paves the way for the creation of the Baao Organic Agriculture Stakeholders’ Council.  This will be replicated in the barangay level, Bacsain said.

Vice Mayor Norman Eduardo P. Badiola, the presiding officer of the Municipal Council of Baao said the ordinance will be transmitted to the Office of Mayor Quirino G. Boncayao Jr for final approval.

“Once signed by the mayor, the law takes effect immediately and will be implemented within the next two months.  This will institutionalize local funding for the promotion of organic farming and sustainable agriculture in the Municipality of Baao,” Badiola said.

Badiola said the ordinance is the local government’s answer to the resounding call for local government support initiated by the national government and its partner NGOs in the go organic campaign led by Go Organic! Philippines, a consortium of nongovernment organizations led by the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and the La Liga Policy Institute (LLPI), is now taking the lead implementing the Organic FIELDS Support Program Phase 1 (OFSP1), which is now in the final phase of completion.

OFSP1 aims to promote the massive conversion of conventional farms into organic farm sites through farmers’ training.  Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap, who launched the program last year, is eyeing the conversion of 400,000 hectares of rice farms into organic farm sites, targeting 200 congressional districts nationwide with the capacity to produce organic fertilizers and pesticides to sustain the gains of the program by 2010.

The ordinance promotes and adapts a diversified sustainable organic and integrated farming system, promotes balanced thrust for economic and environmental development and serves as anti-poverty and rural development strategy that creates employment through the utilization of available raw materials, tapping local human resources, contributes in increasing productivity and income.

The Baao Sustainable Organic Agriculture Council is composed of the Municipal Agriculturist as chairman, the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), the proponent of the ordinance, as co-chairman; the Municipal Council committee on agriculture chairman, Liga President, Municipal Agriculture and Fisheries Council (MAFC) chairman as members.

Its functions is to develop programs and projects supportive to the promotion and expansion of the organic farming, processing and marketing activities.

As an advisory council, it shall recommend measures to LGU policy and programs towards enhancement of the agriculture; provide periodic reports on progress status and activities to LGUs, other institutional bodies and different stakeholders of the program.

The Baao Organic Sustainable Agriculture Council shall also develop education and awareness raising program to food producers and consumers on the imperatives of the organic foods and technologies, initiate linkages and explore partnership programs and create a Technical Working Committee to oversee the actual implementation of the programs and projects.

Camarines Sur farmers complete season-long training on organic farming: Successful harvest in demo farm caps training

Baao, Camarines Sur – A total of 85 farmers completed the Farmers’ Season-Long Training on organic farming, boosting government and nongovernment organization’s initiatives to promote sustainable agriculture practices in this chiefly agricultural town.

The farmers received their certificate of completion during a simple ceremony marking the end of the 16-week training process.  Aside from the farmers who successfully completed the training, 10 more farmers received a certificate of participation.  With the theme: “Sustaining and Expanding the Gains of OFSP through Local Action among Stakeholders” the graduation exercise was held at the demo-learning farm where the farmers learned various organic farming systems and technologies, including organic fertilizer production.

Capping the successful season long training, one of the components of the Organic FIELDS Support Program Phase 1 (OFSP1), is the successful palay harvest at the one-hectare demo farm in Bgy. Sta. Cruz last Monday.

OFSP1, a partnership project of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) with Go Organic! Philippines, a consortium of nongovernment organizations led by the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and the La Liga Policy Institute (LLPI).

A monitoring team from the DA and BSWM administered the harvesting of the palay.

The “pure organic-system of rice intensification” demo farm yielded 5.4 metric tons of palay while the “farmers’ practice” on organic farming demo farm yielded 6.3 metric tons.

Tirzo Martirez, vice president of the Rinconada Movement for Environment and Sustainable Agriculture (RINCOMESA), the NGO-partner of Go Organic! Philippines in this town, said the farmers’ have successfully learned all stages of organic rice production, including production of organic fertilizer and pesticide through composting and vermiculture.

“With the 85 farmers successfully completing the training, we are confident that more farms in Baao will go organic next season,” Martirez said.

Dante O. Bismonte, PRRM’s area manager in Baao, said more than 50 percent of those who took part in the training have in fact started to adopt organic farming.

“Some of the farmers are now producing their own organic fertilizer and organic pesticides.  Next cropping season, we expect the number of organic farming-practitioners to multiply as more farmers become aware of its many benefits, in terms of increased income to farmers, better health and environment,” he said.

OFSP1 is now considered as the government’s key strategy in achieving rice self-sufficiency target by 2010.

Campaign to go organic gets boost Smart, I-Con turn greener through ‘change in lifestyle’

THE campaign to go organic is getting the much needed boost as companies with so-called green initiatives take the lead in campaigning for a change in lifestyle among its employees.

Smart Communications, Inc. and its contact center partner, I-Contacts Corporation teamed up to launch “Green Icon” as part of its Earth Day 2009 Celebration at the company’s satellite office along Quezon Avenue in Quezon City.

A film production entitled “Handa na ba tayo sa pagbabago?  Panahon na! “Ang Pinoy at ang Hamon ng Climate Change” was featured during one-day event, which was also highlighted by an exhibit at the “Green Bazaar” which features green products and initiatives of Smart’s various partner-institutions.

A booth put up by I-Con to collect bottled containers of water and soda cans.  For every three bottle containers presented by its employees, they get a premium item such as Smart cap, to encourage employees to recycle, reuse, and reduce waste.

Go Organic! Philippines, a consortium of nongovernment organizations and organic farming advocates led by the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and La Liga Policy Institute (LLPI) was invited to join the “Green Icon” to promote its various eco-friendly products and initiatives.

Roland Cabigas, Managing Director of LLPI and a convenor of Go Organic! Philippines commended Smart and Icon for joining the go organic bandwagon and taking the lead in calling for a change in lifestyle among its employees.

“Our campaign to go organic doesn’t stop in the farms.  Consumers will play a very important role in making our campaign to promote organic farming a success by simply buying organically-grown products,” Cabigas said.

Cabigas said other companies should emulate Smart’s green initiative and join the organic bandwagon by simply campaigning for a change in lifestyle among its employees, which will, in effect help boost farmers’ income.

Meanwhile, the invitation to Go Organic! Philippines, Cabigas said, is an offshoot of its effective implementation of the Quad Media Information Education and Communication (Quad IEC) campaign which is being carried out by LLPI.

Go Organic! Philippines recently took part in the 5th holding of the Eco-Products International Fair (EPIF 2009) and promoted the country’s indigenous rice varieties, which are uniquely different, because of their color – red, brown, pink, violet, white, and its cancer-fighting Obama rice or black rice.

During the Green Icon program, Mirriam Chico, Creative and Events Management team leader of I-con said the program specifically aims to raise awareness among its employees about the urgent need to turn green to help fight global warming and climate change.

With the theme “Its I-Con Choice to Go Green”, the activity aims to convince its 2,000 employees, particularly those assigned at Smart’s contact center, to support environment-friendly initiatives, such as organic farming which produces agri-cultural products without those often harmful chemical fertilizer and pesticide, starting with a change in lifestyle.

“Call center agents or employees are exposed to health risks.  That’s why as part of our campaign to help save Mother Earth, we are calling for a change in lifestyle among our employees, such as by eating healthier food that are free from harmful chemicals,” she said.

Organic farming advocates bat for continued support

WITH the successful implementation of the first phase of the Organic FIELDS Support Program (OFSP), organic farming advocates are now gearing up for the massive shift from conventional to the more sustainable organic farming.

Lawyer Atty. Efren Moncupa, lead convenor of Go Organic! Philippines said with a total of 600 farmers from six pilot towns and cities in Luzon finally completing their season-long training on organic farming this month, they are in now in a much better position to aggressively put in place the mechanism for an expanded coverage of the program.

Moncupa said the result of the harvests at the OFSP1 learning farms in Alaminos City, Pangasinan, Guimba, Nueva Ecija, Naujan in Oriental Mindoro, Samal and Dinalupihan, Bataan are encouraging. The palay harvest in Tabaco, Albay and Baao, Camarines Sur are scheduled to take place by next week.

“You just have to see the palay that the farmers harvested during their graduation and you’ll be convinced that organic farming works,” he said. He cited the palay produced by farmers at the “balanced fertilization” learning farm in Dinalupihan, Bataan whose yield is expected to reach 4.5 metric tons per hectare.

Moncupa said Go Organic! Philippines, a consortium of nongovernment organizations led by the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and La Liga Policy Institute (LLPI) is batting for the continued support of the government to reach out to far flung areas in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

He said to promote organic farming and achieve the DA’s targets; there is a need for unwavering support of all sectors, particularly the concerned national government agencies as well as local government units (LGUs).

“If the gains of the initial phase of the program are to be sustained, we need the unwavering support of the DA, the LGUs, lawmakers, private financing institutions and the farmers themselves” he said.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap, who launched the first phase of the program in November last year, is targeting the conversion of 400,000 hectares of agricultural lands into organic farm sites by 2010.

This will require the establishment of 2,600 organic farm sites, with each having its own organic fertilizer plants, all over the country.

Dr. Lauro Hernandez, an official of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) affirmed the government’s commitment to sustainable agriculture during the Farmers’ Field Day in Bataan representing BSWM chief, Director Silvino Tejada.

“As promised by Secretary (Arthur) Yap, the DA will continue to promote organic farming as one of several means to increase farmers’ income, promote better health and environment,” he said.

Hernandez said they are currently consolidating all reports from the project monitoring teams of the DA and BSWM.

“We are still in the process of evaluating the implementation of the first phase of the project. So far, maganda naman ang resulta,” he said.

100 Bataan farmers say no to chemical, yes to organic fertilizer

CONVINCED by the economic viability of going organic, 100 farmers from Samal and Dinalupihan, Bataan vowed to shift to organic farming boosting government effort to massive convert conventional farms into organic farm sites.

The farmers, who bonded together to form the Samalenyo Organiko in Samal and Organisaka Dinalupihan, made their commitment during the Farmers’ Field Day in Bataan last Saturday.

The Farmers’ Field Day held in Dinalupihan, Bataan is one of the highlights and the culmination of the Farmers’ Season-Long Training, one of the components of the Organic FIELDS Support Program Phase 1 (OFSP1), a partnership project with the Department of Agriculture (DA) led by Secretary Arthur Yap through the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM).

The farmers who received their certificate of completion for the training, harvested 1,500 sq. m of palay from the ‘balanced fertilization’ learning-demo farm in Dinalupihan, Bataan.

Representatives from the DA and the BSWM, along with proponents of Go Organic! Philippines, which is implementing the OFSP1, witnessed the harvest.

Laywer Atty. Efren Moncupa, lead convenor of Go Organic! Philippines who hails in Barangay Pagalanggang, Dinalupihan, Bataan said organic farming is beneficial to farmers not only in terms of increased income, but health and environment, as well.

“Organic farming is not an easy way out of poverty, but it will definitely boost farmers’ income and benefit not only farmers, but the consumers who will finally enjoy eating chemical-free food and enjoy living in a less-polluted environment,” he said.

Nomer Palad, Vice President of Samalenyong Organiko said organic farming offers a lasting solution to the problem brought about by the skyrocketing cost of petrochemical-based fertilizers, which now costs around P1,000 to P1,200 per 50-kilo bag.  In conventional farming, farmers need to buy at least eight to 10 bags to produce 5.5 metric tons of palay.

“Using organic fertilizer, we can lower production cost without necessarily cutting down our yield.  It is difficult at first but we learned the virtue of hard work during the training and it really pays off,” he said.

For his part, Pedro Malit, President of Organisaka Dinalupihan said by veering away from excessive agrochemical inputs in their farm, farmers can be assured that their unproductive farmland will become productive once more, as organic fertilizer regenerates essential soil nutrients needed by the plant to grow.

“In organic farming, we can actually help protect the environment because organic fertilizer doesn’t cause pollution like the way chemical fertilizers do.  It even promotes sustainable agriculture because farmers can produce their own organic fertilizer.  We don’t have do borrow money to buy those chemical fertilizer,” he said.

The OFSP1 is being implemented by the Go Organic! Philipines, a consortium of nongovernment organizations led by the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and La Liga Policy Institute (LLPI), to promote organic farming in the Philippines.

A major component of the program is to train 600 farmers in six pilot towns and cities in Luzon which include Samal and Dinalupihan in preparation for the massive conversion of rice fields into organic farm sites.  The DA is targeting to convert 400,000 hectares into organic farm sites by 2010.

A total of 100 farmers completed the training, some of who have vowed to go organic next cropping season, saying using organic fertilizer which they can produce from materials found in their farms such animal manure, rice straw and carbonized rice hull, is a lot better than chemical fertilizer, which costs around P1,000 per 50-kilo bag.

During their training which started last December 21, 2009, the farmers learned various organic farming systems and technologies including organic fertilizer production using raw materials found in their farm such as rice straw and rice hull, animal manure and other agricultural waste using bokashi, a Japanese term for compost, which they used in the one-hectare demo farms in Samal, and Dinalupihan, Bataan.

Naujan’s ‘pure organic’ demo farm yields 4.2 MT of palay

FARMERS in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro are upbeat about going organic after the one-hectare organic demo farm in Barangay Gamao in this top rice-producing town is projected to yield 4.2 metric tons.

Arnulfo Penaverde, project coordinator of the Education for Life Foundation (ELF) for Naujan, said the result of the harvest is encouraging, considering that during the transition phase to organic farming, rice production is supposed to slightly drop.  “This is the other way around in Naujan,” says Penaverde, which supports the DA’s positive rice production outlook for 2009.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap has earlier projected record palay harvest in the first half of the year, which he said would reach 7.3 million metric tons, 200,000 MT more than last year’s first semester output of 7.1 million MT.

Elf is an NGO- partner of the Go Organic! Philippines, a consortium of NGOs led by the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and the La Liga Policy Institute (LLPI), which is implementing the Organic FIELDS Support Program Phase 1.

OFSP Phase 1, which was launched by no less than Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap in November last year, aims to promote organic farming in the Philippines.  A major component of the project is the conduct of a farmers’ training in six towns and cities in Luzon.  This is in preparation for the immediate conversion of 400,000 hectares of rice fields into organic farm sites.

The harvest, one of the highlights of the OFSP Phase I Farmers’ Season-Long Training, was conducted last April 5, 2009 and was witnessed by representatives from the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM).  A total of 153 farmers representing 25 different barangays in the town of Naujan participated in the said training, 114 of which successfully completed the 16-week hands-on training.

“We are very happy with the result.  Farmers who took part in the training were in fact convinced to shift from conventional to organic farming because of the good harvest,” he said.

Penaverde estimated that the production cost for the demo farm, an unirrigated area, at P25,000.  The cost of production includes seeds, labor, organic fertilizer, organic pesticide, and gasoline for the motorized hydraulic pump. A total of 50 bags of organic fertilizers which the farmer-trainers produced during the training were used in the demo farm.  A conventional farm, which makes use of chemical fertilizer, requires at least eight bags worth around 1,000 to P1,200 per 50-kilo bag.  With such cost, total cost of production could reach up to P40,000, including other costs such as seeds pesticide, and gasoline, to come up with almost the same yield.

With the successful harvest and the overwhelming support from local government units (LGUs), Penaverde is confident that more farmers will join the organic bandwagon.

He said to promote organic farming and expand areas using organic fertilizer, a trainors’ training was also conducted, with 30 farmers completing the course.  The 30 trainers, he said, will teach farmers who wants to learn about organic farming and organic fertilizer production.

The town of Naujan, a top rice-producing town in Oriental Mindoro, has 65,000 hectares of agricultural land, 90 percent of which is devoted to rice.

Penaverde said even during the training, so convinced were the farmers that they formed the Mindoro Organic Farmers’ Association (MOFA), whose primary purpose is to promote and advocate organic farming in the entire province.

Naujan is one of the six towns and cities chosen as pilot areas for the project.  Part of the project is to put up a demo farm for the Farmers’ Season-Long Training where at least 100 farmers in each of the six towns and cities in Luzon are trained on various organic farming systems and technologies, including organic fertilizer production.

The organic fertilizers produced by the farmers during their training, which started last December 21, were used in the demo farm, Penaverde said.

“This only proves that organic farming works wonders,” lawyer Atty. Efren Moncupa, lead convenor of Go Organic! Philippines.

Moncupa, an organic farming practitioner himself, stressed the need for farmers to shift from conventional farming to the more sustainable organic farming to reduce cost, citing the high cost of imported chemical fertilizers.

“During these trying times, the only way for farmers to survive the global economic crisis to veer away from agrochemical agriculture, produce their own fertilizer which can be sourced from their farm such as animal manure, rice hull and rice straw, without necessarily sacrificing output,” he said.