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Organic way moves on

November 12, 2010

Agri Plain Talk


June 9, 2010, 2:16pm

It seems the organic movement is going great everywhere. Thanks to the soaring prices of chemical fertilizers three or four years ago, more and more farmers have turned to organic farming. Instead of urea and the like, many have resorted to processed as well as semi-processed organic fertilizers. An increasing number of practitioners have resorted to beneficial organisms to enrich plant extracts, fish emulsion and so on. More people are turning to fermentation technology for the production of organic plant growth enhancers.

And one of the more interesting developments that came to our attention is the project of Dr. Ofelia Peralta of the Sunshine International School in Daraga, Albay. Last year she bought a one-hectare property in front of her school which she converted into an organic farm producing high-value vegetables and other crops.

What is so interesting is that she has organized an Eco-Friendly Club with the grade school kids as its members. The young children are introduced to the wonderful world of growing crops the organic way. The members hold meetings during which they are taught the basics of growing plants and taking good care of them. This way, they also learn to love eating vegetables and fruits which lead to a healthy life style.

Of course the biggest boost to the organic farming movement is the enactment of the Philippine Organic Agriculture Law. During the recent Third Pinoy Organic Agriculture Festival in Quezon City, the principal author of the law, Sen. Miguel Zubiri, was as enthusiastic as the attendees about the recent developments. What is being awaited is the IRR or implementing rules and regulations.

What is important is that there should be readily available inputs of good quality. More demonstration farms should also be established so that doubting farmers could be more easily convinced about the benefits of farming the organic way.

The best way to convince farmers to turn organic is to show them that profits are made while the cost of production is reduced. Many farmers are still hesitant to abandon their chemical farming ways because they are not sure if they will be able to produce enough harvest with the use of organic fertilizers.

Organic farming does not cover only growing crops without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. It also includes growing naturally-farmed pigs and chickens. Andry Lim of Davao City and the Sanianos of the Earthkeepers in Tiaong, Quezon, are known practitioners of growing naturally-farmed pigs – without the use of antibiotics and other chemicals. They have proven that they can succeed and they also make more money because they can sell their meat at a higher price.

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