LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Inanglupa Movement Inc., one of the members of the Organic Agriculture Society of the Philippines (OASP) Inc., stressed on the advantages of organic agriculture during the recent 1st National Organic Agriculture Scientific Conference.
The presentation from the said movement showed the evident gains from organic agriculture not only to farmers but also to its significant contribution to the environment. Farmers can reduce their production costs because they do not need to buy expensive chemicals and fertilizers, healthier farm workers, in can slow down global warming, fewer residues in food and pollution of ground water is stopped are among the many other benefits of organic agriculture.
The point of productivity was also discussed during the said presentation. It was said that it is undeniable that our soils are sick and thus in need of soil converting and rejuvenation. Still, it was emphasized that the performance of organic agriculture on production depends on the previous agricultural management system.
It was given as an example that in the so-called Green Revolution areas or the irrigated land, conversion to organic agriculture usually leads to almost identical yields, while in traditional rain-fed agriculture with low-input of external inputs, organic agriculture has the potential to increase yields. The movement underlined however that these declines are but result of the soil’s recovery of its natural fertility and as farmers learn new management techniques, and thus happens mostly in the initial years of the conversion.
As for the matter of profitability, there were four mechanisms through which organic farming can improve incomes, profitability and returns to labor. Given mechanisms were: by removing or reducing the need for purchased inputs, by diversifying and optimizing productivity, by maintaining or improving on-farm and off-farm bio-diversity and by sales on a premium market.
The systematic evaluation of the costs and benefits of different organic agriculture management options was also discussed. It was said that it was critical to give farmers and decision makers confidence in supporting such practices. In doing so, expanding the development of stable and diverse markets for smallholders is also put forward. In the end, these are all but to achieve the common goal: productivity, profitability and sustainability.
By BLESS SUBILLA