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Organic Farming Improves Quality of Life in the Philippines

November 25, 2010

by organicstore | August 31, 2007 at 02:41 am

 

PALIMBANG, Sultan Kudarat, Philippines–Organic farming is improving the quality of life for farmers in this Philippine town.

Fr. Bugas, Milbuk parish priest, noted that he promoted organic farming in the town since it can help reduce pollution to the environment in the absence of the application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which is the mode in conventional farming.

“Moreover, organic farming is the way to improve the lot of farmers. It is an environment-friendly farming method,” the priest stressed.

He said farmers in the area have difficulty coping with the high costs of fertilizers and pesticides in conventional farming that he pushed going back to old farming practices where plants grow without chemical intervention.

“Also, I believed that organic farming is one way to restore the dignity of farmers, wherein they would not be ashamed to say that they are farmers,” Fr. Bugas said.

In the last two years, at least 110 hectares of land have been utilized by hundreds of farmers in at least 13 villages of the town’s 40 barangays for organic palay production.

Eddie Panes, chairman of the Association of Sustainable Agriculture Practitioners of Palimbang (ASAPP), backed the claims of the priest that conventional farming is just too much especially for the small farmers in the town.

“The yield in conventional farming is about enough to pay the loans for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. It is the financiers that get richer and not the farmers,” said Panes, whose association has about 150 active members.

Citing a baseline survey conducted by the association among palay farmers in the town, Panes said while it is true that conventional farming has higher yields at an average of at least 100 sacks per hectare, in the end of the computation it “is still not lucrative as it appear.”

Deducting all the expenses in conventional farming for chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, he claimed the net income per hectare is only P4,000.

Whereas in organic farming which has an average yield of 60 sacks per hectare, net income fetches P7,000, he added.

When he was still employing conventional farming method in his two and a half-hectare land, Panes pointed out that about P30,000 to P35,000 are eaten through financing.

Financing scheme observed in the locality by informal lenders is an interest of four sacks of palay for every P1,000 loan, he said.

Currently, the association has successfully tested 15 traditional varieties of palay for mass propagation while more than 150 other species are in their trial stages.

Organic rice sold by the association, since it is considered a healthy food with the absence of chemical application and the laborious method it is grown, fetches between P1,200 to P1,500 per sack.

Panes said organic rice can be purchased at General Santos City, the nearest key urban center from the town with a travel time of more than three hours.

Source: sunstar.com.ph

http://www.nowpublic.com/organic-farming-improves-quality-life-philippines

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