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Sorsogon farmers now earning more from organic farming

news reg pix 1 june 1 2016One hundred thirty four agrarian reform beneficiaries in Sorsogon are now earning more after they have adopted the Natural Farming System (NFS) technology in vegetable production under the Farmers’ Field School program of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

DAR Assistant Regional Director Rodrigo Realubit said the farmers graduated from the Farmers’ Field School organized in the province by the department. “They were trained on the positive gains in natural farming versus conventional farming.”

The farmers’ intensive training of NSF started from January to December 2015. “It was extended until April 30, 2016 to fully boost the capacity of agrarian reform beneficiaries in producing vegetables using NFS,” Realubit said.

Implemented under the DAR’s Agrarian Reform Communities Project (ARCP), the Farmers’ Field School Program is a six-module training program where NFS or organic farming, are taught to farmers by the experts from the East West Seed Co., Inc.news reg pix 2 june 2 2016

ARCP Provincial Project Manager Leonito Gaveria said the training seeks to expand organically-grown vegetables and other crops “because natural farming is not only healthier for us to consume, it is also safe for the environment. Plus, it is cheaper for farmers because it uses natural materials for fertilizers and most importantly, the yield is much bigger.” 

The crop specialists from the East West Seed Co. taught the farmers the principles of NFS technology such as: composting, seed to seedling management, crop management at vegetative stage, crop management at reproductive stage, fertilizer application, pest and disease control and harvest and post-harvest handling techniques.

According to the experts from the East West Seed Co., the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides has greatly degraded the rural environment. Farmlands are poisoned due to the accumulation of chemicals in the soil.

“But aside from the health reasons mentioned, the best benefit that the farmers get in growing organic crops is the yield. We have proven through our demo farms that yield will increase by at least 15 percent,” Gaveria said.

“And this is just the first cropping. As the soil gets healthier thru the NFS or organic farming, the continued practice of NFS will further increase yield to 20 percent or more,” added Gaveria.

news reg pix 3 june 1 2016At the recent harvest festival in Bulan, Sorsogon, the farmer-graduates proudly exhibited and sold their harvests of organic patola, upo, ampalaya and other vegetables to residents and tourists.

Farmer Rodrigo Gojar attests to the benefits of growing vegetables organically. “By making My own fertilizers thru composting, I was able to save around 70 percent in fertilizer expences because the materials I use are free like carabao and chicken manure, dried leaves and dried hay.”

Farmer Gerardo Reodanga swears that organic farming system is better. “From my first harvest in the demo farm, I harvested 10 percent more than I expected. And that’s just my first trial. I know that I will harvest more in the next cropping season.”

Gaveria said “the training was a success. At present, 6.9 hectares of farms are planted with high-value vegetbales using NFS technology. These farms located in four agrarian reform communities--Bulan ARC in Bulan; Irosin Municipal ARC in Irosin;  Juban ARC and Lajong ARC both in Juban.”

“Now that we have transferred the knowledge on the benefits and gains of organic farming, we are encouraging other farmers to adopt the technology in their own farms,” said Gaveria. (Liza B. Repotente)

Photo 1:The farmers-graduates of the Farmer Field School Program of DAR.

Photo 2: Farmers harvesting patola.

Photo 3: Farmers with the DAR staff showing off their bountiful harvest at the harvest festival in Bulan, Sorsogon.

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