Posts Tagged ‘Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM)’

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.

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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.

‘Organic farming will make rice cheaper’

WHILE saying organically-produced agricultural products and byproducts command higher price, the price of rice, the country’s staple food, may eventually go down with farmers benefiting from lower production cost as they start to produce their own organic fertilizer.

In an interview during the “Go Organic!” TV program on NBN 4 Lawyer Efren Moncupa, lead convenor of Go Organic! Philippines said the price of organically-produced agriculture products should be lower than those produced using inorganic fertilizer.

Moncupa, a former agrarian reform undersecretary, reiterated his appeal to lawmakers to prioritize bills that promotes organic farming in the Philippines, which he said will be both beneficial to farmers and consumers.

While saying that once measures that actually promote organic farming, such as the establishment of a government regulatory body that will issue organic certification, is passed into law, the Philippines will be able to penetrate the global organic food market, such as the supply of organic rice.

He noted that some grocery stores have already put up an organic section where organically-grown produce, such as rice, but the price is relatively higher compared to others.

“The price of organically-grown produce should be lower because the production cost is much lower,” Moncupa said.

Farmer-leader Jaime “Ka Jimmy” Tadeo of Paragos-Pilipinas echoes Moncupa’s sentiment.

“Since production cost is lower, the price of rice should be cheaper,” Tadeo, the spokesperson of Go Organic! Philippines said.

The commercial price of organic fertilizer is P250 to P350 per 50-kilo bag compared to the price of inorganic fertilizer currently pegged at P1,500 to P2,000 per 50-kilo bag.  A one-hectare rice farm requires around eight to 10 bags of inorganic fertilizer.  On the other hand, the organic fertilizer requirement during the first year of transition is at 60 bags and diminishes to as low as 30 bags once soil fertility is restored.

“If the farmers produce their own organic fertilizers the cost is even cheaper.  Lower cost of organic fertilizer inputs, means production cost is much lower.  Eventually, farmers will be able to sell their produce at a lower price,” Tadeo said.

Go Organic! Philippines, a consortium of nongovernment organizations led by the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and the La Liga Policy Institute (LLPI), is taking the lead in implementing Phase I of the Organic FIELDS Support Program (OFSP).

This is in preparation for the immediate conversion of 10 percent of the 1.9 million hectares rice fields into organic farm sites.

The program promotes sustainable agriculture through organic farming in the Philippines, particularly rice, which is now considered the government’s key strategy to achieve rice self-sufficiency target.

Director Vince Tejada of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) said more farmers in different parts of the country will benefit from the program.

Tejada said the program will continue, expanding in areas not previously covered. He revealed that a team from the BSWM is now in the process of evaluating the implementation of the project.

Asked about the program’s implementation, Tejada said:  “Ayos naman.  Napakaganda at masaya ang ating magsasaka dahil ngayon lang nila nalaman na kaya nilang i- implement ang organic farming sa kanilang lugar,” Tejada said.

The BSWM monitoring team visited the organic demonstration farms in the six pilot areas in Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Albay, Camarines Sur, and Mindoro recently and is expected to submit its report and recommendation.

Shift to organic to stabilize price, rice production – group

TO stabilize the price of rice and prevent yet another rice price crisis, a consortium of nongovernment organization is pushing to promote organic farming and production of organic fertilizers in lieu of conventional farming which is highly-dependent on petrochemical-based fertilizers and pesticides.

Jaime “Ka Jimmy” Tadeo, spokesperson of Go Organic! Philippines said the expected rice production shortfall this year can be attributed to the fact that fertilizer prices is vulnerable to the price of crude oil, a political commodity, which makes its price equally unpredictable.

“Farmers are influenced by the price of imported fertilizers. Once the price of fertilizer goes up, the tendency is for farmers to reduce their rice production, because they have limited capital. Some farmers may shift to planting cash crops. Others may even think of not planting at all, because of the high cost of fertilizer,” he said, Tadeo, chairman of Paragos-Pilipinas, a nationwide federation of farmers’ organization said.

“In fact, last year when the price of crude oil was spiraling, the price of one bag of chemical fertilizers reached a high of P2,200,” he said.

Tadeo said the only way for farmers to break the chain from petrochemical-based fertilizer is to shift to sustainable agricultural practices, starting with fertilizers.

He said organic fertilizers are now commercially available for as low as PhP 300 per bag and farmers themselves can actually produce their own organic fertilizers for their personal consumption.

Go Organic! Philippines through its affiliates, the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and the La Liga Policy Institute (La Liga), are taking the lead in implementing Phase I of the Organic FIELDS Support Program (OPSF) in partnership with the Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM).  The group is now aggressively promoting organic farming.

FIELDS or Fertilizer, Irrigation and other rural infrastructure like farm-to-market roads, Education and extension work, Loans, Dryers and other post-harvest facilities, and Seeds is the DA’s main thrust to achieve the country’s rice self-sufficiency target.

According to Tadeo, the massive shift or conversion from conventional farming to the more sustainable organic farming will also require the production of cheaper, organic fertilizers which can be produced by the farmers themselves.

“This will substantially reduce the country’s dependence on petrochemical-based fertilizers which turn our country’s rice production going up like the price of crude oil and inorganic fertilizer,” he said.