Feature: Organic small farmers becoming entrepreneurs
by JMD Abangan
Tagum City (30 June) -- Small-time farmers producing organic crops nowadays are inching their way to become agri-entrepreneurs by linking up with non-government organizations which are into non-pesticide farming.
Sheila Almasa, advocacy officer of Davao Provinces Rural Development Institute (DPRDI) said about 200 farmers have linked up with DPRDI to sell their organically grown fruits and vegetables.
Through its Social Enterprise Development Program, the DPRDI extends to farmers its nature's farming technology which does away with chemicals but instead use organic foliar, a concoction of organic materials to fertilize their crops.
They are also taught to intensify Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system and to adopt Integrated Farming System (IFS) to increase their farm yield.
DPRDI markets their organically produced fruits and crops including rice through the DPRDI which sells the farm commodities at Healthy Organic Shop in Tagum City that it purposely sets up as an outlet of their partner-farmers farm produce.
Frances John Lozano, Indigenous People's Advocacy project coordinator of the Silangang Dapit sa Sidlakang (SILDAP) Mindanao said her group is teaching indigenous communities how to make their ancestral lands more productive.
SILDAP which used to fight for the ancestral rights of IPs is now into teaching IPs to adopt diversified farming system (DFS) and Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT).
IP partners are also being introduced to oriental herbal nutrient which is also known as organic foliar to fertilize their farm.
She said SILDAP partners in Sitio Bangkawan of Asuncion and those in Sitio Calinagan in Maragusan are now noting an increase in their income through applying farming techniques introduced to them. (PIA) [top]