Feature: Organic farming for Ilocos Norte farmers
By Carlo P. Canares
Laoag City (25 June) -- Farmers in Ilocos Norte have learned that one of the best practices in sustainable agriculture is by becoming earth-friendly.
In a recent First Farmers' Congress sponsored by the Department of Agriculture and the provincial government under Governor Michael Marcos Keon, technical staff members from the DA and other government groups and partner-NGOs spoke on the virtues of organic farming.
It will be recalled that Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said the DA will strongly promote organic farming and will continue to provide training to farmers on organic fertilizer production to empower farmers to produce their own organic fertilizer from various materials such as animal manure, carbonized rice hull and rice stalk using various organ farming systems and technologies.
The secretary is confident of hitting its target of covering 400,000 hectares of agricultural land as organic farm sites by 2010, citing the support and cooperation of various stakeholders and partner-NGOs in implementing its various projects.
Most farmers in the province of Ilocos Norte complain of the high cost of farm inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides which takes much of their income.
In the said congress, farmers were taught how to make organic fertilizers and use it in their farms for better soil management and increased productivity and income.
DA Regional Director Atty Cipriano Santiago said the department continuously provide technology updates and support programs for farmers and fishermen in the province. He urged farmers to cooperate and support provincial ordinances by not burning rice straws after harvest and instead convert them into organic fertilizer through the application of modified rapid-composting technology taught by the DA field workers.
Governor Keon, together with the DA, distributed thousands of organic fertilizers to farmers, particularly whose farms where damaged by typhoon Karen.
Outside the farmers' congress hall were booths showcasing various products of the different towns of the province, such as Dragon fruits from Burgos; Bagnet from San Nicolas; Garlic from Pinili; empanada from Batac, and others.
The first farmers' congress, according to Santiago, is one way for the DA to reach out to local farmers and at the same time know their concerns. (PIA-Ilocos Norte) [top]