Kalinga farmers see higher income in Agri-Kalikasan
by L. Lopez
TABUK CITY (22 September) -- Farmers in the province expect higher income from Agri-Kalikasan of the Department of Agriculture(DA), which pushes organic-base farming technology.
Raul Villacorte of DA's Bureau of Soils and Water Management who was here last week, said the technology leads farmers to less depend on commercial inorganic fertilizers by adapting the program's components on 'tipid abono' and 'balik pataba sa bukirin'.
This technology is contained in the administration's major agricultural program to address production needs of farmers in line with the vision of developing the country as top rice producer by year 2020.
Villacorte, who met with agriculture technicians and farmer leaders of the province, explained how inorganic inputs cause damage to the soil, turning it acidic and infertile.
With Agri-kalikasan technology, soil fertility is restored through the use of organic agents, at the same time cutting cost requirement, thereby giving farmers savings in cost of production, Villacorte said.
Tipid abono helps farmers reduce fertilizer expense as it guides them the proper time of fertilizer application with the leaf color chart, a device telling when to apply fertilizer based on the palay leaf color.
This will check the traditional practice of applying fertilizer by following a periodic schedule, even if the plant does not need it yet, Villacorte explained.
He said farmers just apply inorganic implements, thinking these are needed by the plant and because it used to be the practice for years, it became a farming technology to them.
Balik pataba sa bukirin, as it connotes, returns soil fertility through modified rapid composting where rice straws are brought back to the field after harvest, mixed with trichoderma agent and converted as organic soil fertilizer.
This time, farmers will cut time and labor of composting from the usual 3-month period to 3 weeks with the introduction of trichoderma fungus activator.
Villacorte said studies showed about 70% of the fertilizer applied is absorbed by the rice straw in the palay, the other 30% stays in the grain.With Balik pataba sa bukirin, farmers are practically returning that 70% back to the soil, he said.
The technology, according to Villacorte, also includes regular conduct of soil analysis as procedure in the reconditioning of soil, to determine the amount and kind of fertilizer requirement.
He, however, clarified the technology does not totally discard the use of inorganic commercial fertilizers admitting that the soil condition in Kalinga needs zinc sulphate and urea, but only in lesser quantity, this time. (PIA Kalinga) [top]