DA gears up for organic farming revitalization in Bicol

December 17, 2012 11:33 pm 

PILI, Camarines Sur, Dec. 17 — The Department of Agriculture (DA) here has established a technology demonstration farm in the nearby Bula town in an effort to revitalize organic agriculture in the region.

Established within the vast agricultural property that the Pecuaria Development Cooperative, Incorporated (PDCI) is tending in Barangay Lapigna, Bula, the one-hectare demo farm has been planted to organic and aromatic rice varieties called JM2 and Basmati.

The experimental farm located within the 800-hectare Pecuaria Rice Central also grows traditional varieties such as RC 160 and RC 18, DA regional executive director Jose Dayao here said Monday.

RC 160 is a high-yielding variety developed by the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) while the MS 16 (Maligaya Special) which had good eating quality is from the Philippine National Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).

To orient local farmers on the operations of the demo farm, Dayao said a one-day Organic Rice Field Day was held at the site in line with the DA’s Development of National Organic Rice Seed Production Systems with Informal Sector (DNORSPSIS).

The activity held over the weekend was attended by more than 300 farmers belonging to the PDCI and members of the Camarines Sur Organic Advocateurs Development Council, he said.

PDCI is the leading single producer of organic rice in Bicol and among the five certified organic collaborators chosen by the DA nationwide for the DNORSPSIS.

The other four, Dayao said, are the Central Luzon State University in Nueva Ecija, Kahariam Realty and Farms Inc. in Batangas, the Negros Island Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Foundation Inc. and Bios Dynamis of South Cotabato.

“We are doing this project pursuant to the Philippine Organic Agriculture Law which encourages propagation, development, implementation and promotion of organic agriculture in the Philippines, among other things,” he explained.

The project is being implemented by the DA-Regional Field Unit’s Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).

Dante Fidel, the National Seed Coordinator and Agriculture Focal person of the BPI, said the seeds produced from this techno demo farm will be procured by the DA and distributed as starter seeds to farmers engaged in aromatic rice production.

Fidel said the project is one of the DA’s programs and projects for the promotion of sustainable agriculture.

“This is a model farm that demonstrates the unity of Bicolano farmers evidenced by the success of PDCI towards the region’s commendable rate of rice production,” he added.

Fidel said Bicol has been contributing 44 percent to the country’s organic crops production from January to September this year. The region shares 74 percent to the total organic palay production of the country.

Dayao said DA’s revitalization of organic agriculture in Bicol and the entire country is part of the Aquino administration’s National Rice Program (NRP).

The program aims to increase production towards rice-self sufficiency of the country and generate more income for Filipino farmers.

The PDCI organic agriculture demo farm is the second existing in Camarines Sur. The first is the four-hectare rice farm established in Barangay Binanuanan Sur here by Carmela Cervantes, a faculty-researcher at the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA).

The farm certified by the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP) is now a popular destination of people who want to learn and adopt organic farm systems.

It serves as a laboratory cum training farm showcasing sustainable agriculture through natural farming technologies. (PNA)



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