Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Negros Island Region Leads The Way In Successful Organic Farming

Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. checks out the organic products during the opening of the 9th Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival in November 2014 at the North Capitol Road, Bacolod City.
The newly created One Island Region of Negros, encompassing Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental has shown the rest of the Philippines the pathway to successful organic farming.

Ramon Uy Jr., president of the Organic na Negros Organic Producers and Retailers Association (ONOPRA), said that there are 10,000 organic areas in the province, adding that farmers have an annual income of P100,000.

In Negros Occidental alone, the annual gross sales of organic farming was pegged at P1 billion.

Uy claimed that organic farming have improve the lives and income of the farmers here.

For Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., the "organic movement have been growing by leaps and bounds."

He vowed that he would continue supporting this movement since it will improve the lives of the poor.

He challenged the agrarian reform beneficiaries not to sell their lands, "plant high-value crops because the government will support you."

"We're an agricultural country. We have a rice soil and good weather," the governor said, adding that the provincial government is trying its best to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor.

This was furhter affirmed by the Department of Agriculture which said that organic farming is successful primarily in Western Visayas where Negros Occidental belongs.

Leo Cañeda, coordinator of DA’s National Organic Agriculture Board, said that the organic farming program of the agency had been running in the region for more than four years since the Organic Agriculture Act was passed in 2010, as he stressed that there’s no reason for the program to fail in its birthplace.

Cañeda said that the law targets to transform five percent of the country’s agricultural lands into organic agriculture.

According to DA, about 32,000 hectares of the 633,000 agricultural land area in the region were already converted into organic agriculture.

The province of Negros Occidental, which is known for sugar, aimed to be the organic farming capital of the country.

Meanwhile, small scale farmers who are into rice, corn, high-value crops and livestock production can avail of the crop insurance program.

The farmers, however, should conform to the Philippine National Standard  on Organic Farming so they will be certified as organic practitioners for their products to have access in domestic and foreign markets.

Additional Funding

Recently, the World Bank had allocated P191 million for Negros Occidental after it was chosen as priority province of the national government’s Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP).

Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. stressed that it is a big boost to the province’s agricultural sector and advocacy on organic farming.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for us to feed the whole country. Let the PRDP be a model for all provinces because this will help the underprivileged solve poverty and generate more employment for Negros Occidental,” he said.

The PRDP is a platform that calls for an inclusive, value chain-oriented and climate-oriented agriculture and fisheries sectors. Using the $500 million fund from the World Bank through a 15-year old loan agreement, the national government extended grants for agricultural enhancement programs of qualified local government units.

Negros Occidental was the only local government unit in the Visayas cluster that was chosen as pilot area with muscovado as a priority commodity for development.

Marañon emphasized that rice self-sufficiency remains as his top priority, adding that about 50,000 hectares of rice land are currently irrigated and is expected to expand to 90,000 in the next five years or so.

“The resources of this province are beyond imagination. The agriculture sector is like your three-in-one coffee. It is the key to solving poverty and unemployment,” the governor pointed out, as he cited that the Philippines is the “darling” of agricultural advancement in Asia, and was way ahead of Japan, growth-wise in the 50s and 60s.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

City to adopt new agriculture technology

THE Davao City Government will adapt a new technology developed by Israel in a bid to boost the agriculture sector in terms of production.
This after the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ICCP) and the City Government of Davao entered into an agreement Sunday for the utilization of the new technology dubbed as Israeli Greenhouse Technology.

The new technology was presented by Gur Lavi, an Israel-based agriculture company, to Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Eyal Ben Ari, ICCP president and Gur Lavi chair, said in Monday's edition of Kapehan Sa Dabaw that they are willing to contribute to the Philippine agriculture progress through the introduction of a “greenhouse technology.”

"We met with Mayor Duterte and the result is positive, Duterte is very determined to adopt the technology in Davao," he said.

The greenhouse technology facility will be constructed in Mintal or Calinan, the site is still up for confirmation. Once realized, it will be the first in Mindanao. At present it is already applied in San Pablo City and Tagaytay.

"The first unit here in Davao will be constructed in two or three months from now, maybe in Calinan or Mintal. It will initially be planted with cucumber," former North Cotabato governor and city consultant Manny Piñol said.

He also said that the facility is a 272 square meter (sqm.) in area. The facility costs $70 per sqm.

Gur Lavi agronomist Beatriz Cortes explained the specifications of the new technology.

"The advanced greenhouse construction currently used in Israel includes galvanized steel, shade nets made of aluminum that reflects the unwanted heat and automatically in reaction to sunlight, curtains, skylights, and quality insects net. Modern greenhouses are higher, being five meters higher at their lowest point and the span width reaching 9.6 meters," she said.

She added that the new technology and facility has an innovative system on ventilation, circulation, light, humidity and temperature which are essential in climate control for better production.
The greenhouse structure has three different types, these are single, double and triple arch.

In a comparative analysis conducted by Gur Lavi, data showed that only 4,000 kilograms per year can be produced by the Philippine traditional agriculture in every 1,000 hectares (has). While with the Israeli Greenhouse technology intervention it will reach up to 45,000 kilograms with the same land area of 1,000 has.

Written by: Ace June Rell S. Perez

Composting machine helps farmers in Bacolod

Senator Cynthia Villar cuts the ribbon
of the composting machine
The composting machine is a big help to the farmers here.

Senator Cynthia Villar recently turned over the farm equipment to the city government of Bacolod, as it is a part of her advocacy on solid waste management.

Villar said that the composting machine will help the farmers increase their income while, at the same time, promote organic farming in the community.

The senator said that the composting machine will produce quality organic fertilizers and feeds out of kitchen waste.

She said that the farm equipment will also teach the farmers produce their own input. She added this is a step towards the realization on the modern farming vision of the Department of Agriculture.

Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, disclosed that DA had already donated eight composting machines to different cities in the country.

During her recent visit on the potential tourism farms in the province, Villar said she was “happy and impressed” by the farmers’ creativity and entrepreneurial skills.

Meanwhile, Ma. FeTresfuentes, executive assistant for solid waste management, said the composting machine will be placed either at the Office of the City Agriculture in Barangay Alijis, or at the sanitary landfill in Barangay Felisa.

Sugarcane block farming increases farm productivity

Photo from
At least 19 pilot block farms showed an average increase from 50.78 Tons Cane per Hectare (TC/Ha) to 65.29 TC/Ha, or a 29% increase in farm productivity in crop year 2013-2014 after being enrolled in the block farming program for a year, the Sugar Regulatory Administration said.

Block farming was introduced in the pilot farms in 2012 by the SRA in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Agrarian Reform.

With the capacity-building, technical assistance, farm planning and farm management support provided by SRA, all the pilot block farms showed increases in productivity that ranged from 7.47% to 100%.

Hda. Bernardita ARB MPC in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, showed a 7.47% increase from its initial productivity of 77.00 TC/Ha to 82.75 TC/Ha with block farming, SRA said.

Likewise, the North Cluster Producers COOP in Paniqui, Tarlac showed a 100% increase in productivity from 50 TC/Ha to 100 TC/Ha.

This average 29% increase in productivity would translate to an estimated average increase of farmers’ income by P39,815 per hectare, at 1.96 LKG/TC and a composite price of P1,400 per LKG-bag of raw sugar.

Block farming is the consolidation of the management of small farms of less than five  hectares, into a bigger but contiguous unit of at least 30 hectares for purposes of improving farm productivity while individual ownership is preserved.

Based on SRA records, about 85% of sugarcane farm in the country have areas five hectares and below, due to the natural course of land subdivision by inheritance, sale, and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

While sugarcane is a plantation crop and its cost-efficiency is best achieved with bigger farm sizes of at least 30 hectares, with the aggressive implementation of the CARP, farm sizes are fragmented into small landholding of less than five hectares wherein farm owners can no longer take advantage of the economies of scale.

This is aggravated by the fact that most of the present land owners (CARP beneficiaries) do not have the financial capability to provide the proper farm inputs which resulted in low productivity.
This is one of the greatest hurdles that the sugarcane industry faces.

The Block Farm Program envisions the conversion of the consolidated farms into agribusiness centers through professionalized farm management and mechanized farming; with provisions for logistical, financial, technical, marketing and production support services from various government agencies, banking and financial institutions, and private sectors.

To date, 130 block farms have enrolled for accreditation, with a total area of about 7,000 hectares.

Of these, about 90 block farms will be assisted under the new SRA-DAR-DA convergence which is set to start this month, while about 50 block farms will be assisted under the Sugarcane Industry Development Act next year.

Vegetable Congress set

The first Vegetable Congress will be held at the Central Philippine Adventist College in Barangay Alegria, Murcia town, Negros Occidental, on August 27.

Carlos Jardeniano, CPAC program head of agriculture, said that atleast 300 farmers are expected to attend the congress, he said.

The congress is the initiative of the institution to showcase vegetable production and technology applied by their agricultural scholars, he added.

“An opportune time for farmers to be exposed to the different setting and the acquisition of agricultural knowledge in the process,” he said.

Among the vegetables and fruits to be showcased were cauliflowers, low-land cabbages, ampalayas, sweet corn, lettuce, rambutan, marang, lanzones and durian, he added.

Set as guest speakers were Provincial Agriculturist Igmedio Tabianan and other officials from the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist. They will discuss the impact of the vegetable production to the local economy and the industry’s road map before the vegetable farmers and agriculture students.

CPAC instructors will also conduct lectures on the value of good seeds in cutting-edge vegetable production and good agricultural practices.

OPA senior agriculturist Dina Genzola said that students may partner with vegetable farmers in pursuit of agriculture development, especially on high-value crops production, through the congress.

The congress will serve as an experience and learning venues for the students, she added.


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