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PIA Press Release

Fertilizer is just within us, DA-7 official tells Siquijor farmers

by Rizalie A. Calibo

Siquijor (10 July) -- Backing the government's call to go organic, an official from the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 7 recently urged Siquijor farmers to go into organic farming to pull down production costs and promote sustainable agriculture.

Fertilizer is just within us, DA-7 Chief of the Crops Division Jorge Paculba said as he encouraged farmers to maximize utilization of available resources by converting waste and other resources into organic fertilizers. He said organic farming is the only way to cope with the high and irreversible cost of chemical fertilizers.

From his personal experience, Paculba pointed out that the use of organic fertilizers and non-chemical dependent technologies to produce farm inputs has has proven to have led to better crop quality and higher yields.

DA is putting on the fast track a program promoting the use of organic fertilizers not only to raise farm yiels but also to pull town costs and promote sustainable agriculture.

DA Secretary Arthur Yap said the Department's "Organikong Pagsasaka" program, which has an allocation of P500 million this year, forms part of President Arroyo's P43.7 billion FIELDS initiative to further boost rice yields and guarantee food security amid the emerging global food crunch.

FIELDS stands for the six areas of support where the government will infuse P43.7 billion in funding assistance: Fertilizers; Irrigation and other rural infrastructure; Extension, education and training for farmers; Loans; Dryers and other postharvest facilities; and Seeds of the high-yielding varieties.

The Organikong Pagsasaka program, harnesses locally developed organic farming technologies, and teaches farmers to produce their own high-grade biofertilizers from farm wastes. It encourages farmers to produce biofertilizers, which they can use for their own and sell to other farmers.

Under the program, conversion of market wastes into organic fertilizers is also widely pushed. In this effort, the DA is tapping local government units (LGUs) in carrying out an ecology-friendly project to convert vegetable wastes from public markets and trading centers into organic fertilizers.

Accordingly, the DA official explained that vegetable wastes from trading centers and public markets, particularly in Metro Manila, remain high at 20-30% of the total volume delivered or put up for sale, it would be better to put these losses into good use by converting them into raw materials for the production of organic fertilizers.

Yap said that the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) is eyeing the LGUs to help set up projects in their respective localities to convert vegetable wastes into organic fertilizers. (PIA) [top]

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