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Taiwan ‘rice bomber’ pins hopes on organic farming

November 12, 2010

Study supports preservation of native rice

By Dexter A. See

September 7, 2010, 1:10am

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — Researchers here are strongly advocating for the rehabilitation of damaged rice production areas and conserve what is left to ensure the increased production of native rice varieties which is now in demand in the world market.

In order to restore the fertility of the soil for the production of organic rice through organic farming, a study conducted by professors cited the application of “vermicompost” in combination with organic liquid fertilizer extract is highly recommended for the culture and production of “binggawan” rice variety, one of the native rice grown in the municipalities of Kibungan and Kapangan.

However, a further study must be conducted by the researchers on the diseases affecting the production of the native rice must be done in order to come out with the appropriate measures that will help kill the pests affecting the native rice production.

According to the study, if Benguet wants to follow in the footsteps of Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province, which are now exporting native rice to the United States, farmers must start abandoning chemical-based production and embrace the organic way of raising native rice so that it will be able to pass international standards that will suit the demand of the market.

Once native rice production in the province will become successful in the future, experts cited individuals will be encouraged to shift to the organic way of farming so that their crops will be patronized in the world market which could help increase their income aside from the income derived from raising vegetables.

Native rice produced organically commands a higher price in the international market which range from $5 to $10 per kilo depending on the quality of the produce.

For the past four years, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain province had been continuously exporting their native rice varieties to the United States through a non-government organization, and the volume of the demand has constantly increased because of its aroma and lasting taste.

At present, the three provinces export 25 to 50 tons of native rice to the US which serve as the source of livelihood of thousands of farmers involved in the organic production of native rice varieties.

Benguet is one of the provinces in the Cordillera which is being groomed by the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera as one of the expansion areas for the production of native rice considering that it has eight native rice varieties that were identified by researchers over the past several years.

Experts ruled the transition period from chemical-based farming to organic way of producing crops takes at least three years to ensure that all the traces of chemicals that pose a serious threat to the health of consumers will be totally eradicated the natural way due to the continuous use of organic fertilizers.

The RDC-CAR cited the shift from chemical-based to organic farming will also play a key role in regreening the region’s denuded forests to help in bringing back the greenery of the barren mountains which serve as a major source of water for the lowland communities.

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