Program Beneficiaries’ Development or PBD Division headed by Lucia S. Vitug conducted a training on Rice-Duck Integrated Farming System in Bulan, Sorsogon last August 29, 2013. The project is an attempt to bring back the Organic Farming, wherein 25 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) from different ARB’s Organizations in Bulan attended.
During the training, the participants revealed some facts about the farming business. According to them, farming is pulling their life on much lower level because of the high input cost, climate change, lack of water, and the absence of support services in technology. With these sentiments, Tomas Diesta, Agriculturist of DAR, introduced to them the “power of duck” in farming.
The soil is the most important thing in farming, however, soil also dies because of too much chemicals. “Soil has micro-organisms that make the dry leaves decay. Micro-organisms like this can help the soil become alive again,” Diesta explained. According to him, ducks or itik are the best partner in Palay farming because they serve as Weeders. Thus, the farmer needs not hire laborers to remove the weeds in the farm because ducks can do the job more efficiently and effectively. There is no need to buy insecticides because they eat the pests in the farm such as snail or kuhol. Their droppings also serve as fertilizer, so there’s no need to buy fertilizer. Duck also stimulates the growth of every palay because while they eat the pests like snail, they at the same time cultivate the soil. “The presence of ducks in the farm would lessen the input cost in palay production,” added Diesta.
The use of ducks in the farm also implies that the produce is certified organic because it is prohibited to use chemicals in farming if ducks are present, otherwise they will be poisoned. There are also previous studies which prove that organic farming system led to the increase in yield and food security since ducks also lay eggs which can be another source of food, reduction of manual labor, good health and sound environment.
Some of the important things discussed in the training are the requirements in duck raising: the farmer-cooperator’s house must be near his farm; the proper care of ducklings such as feeding and housing because they are very delicate beings; the proper time to let them roam in the fields; and the needed materials.
DAR and LGU-Bulan will provide them the ducklings and fishnet, plus a week food supply for ducklings if they are already prepared to be a cooperator of this project. “But the success of this project depends on you. Only twenty percent will come from us, the remaining eighty percent belongs to you,” Diesta said to the farmers.
The farmers are also encouraged by Diesta to learn how to make organic fertilizer because in time they would be using this instead of chemicals.
Honorable Marnellie Ballesteros Robles, Mayor of Bulan, was also in attendance and assured the farmers that her administration is very much willing to support this project provided that the beneficiaries would also prove their worth by sustaining what they had started. “Blessings don’t come always and it is very hard to restore a trust which has been broken,” she said. She also urged the farmers to make a commitment not only for themselves but to their communities’ future. She also expressed her desire for Bulan to become a municipal wide Agrarian Reform Community (ARC).
After the training, the participants were given opportunity to visit rice fields in Sta. Magdalena, an adjoining municipality of Bulan that is dedicated in organic farming particularly the duck-rice integrated farming system. They were amazed upon seeing the rice field because the whole area is truly weed-free and the growth of palay is great. Convinced of what they have seen, they are determined to adopt organic farming.