Archive for April 23rd, 2009

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.