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.

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