Department of Agriculture- CAR, recorded Bauko as one of the top two commercial producers of crops in Mountain Province. In which the municipality of Bauko produced 47,796 metric tons of highland vegetables. With this, the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist (OMAG) of Bauko aims to maintain quality vegetable production to maintain or increase this number.
As stated by Agrifina Malecdan, Agriculturist of OMAG, the best way to ensure high-quality produce is for farmers to switch to the practice of organic farming.
Why switch to organic farming?
Communities in the municipality of Bauko encourage organic farming. Luzviminda Lapinas, an organic farmer from barangay Bila recommends the practice of organic farming because of its numerous benefits. “Pag organic, alam naming safe and healthy yung food. Kasi karamihan grabe sila mag-ispray [ng pesticides], at least dito sa amin, konti lang talaga,” she added.
Bila farmers recommend organic farming practices because it is cheaper and environmental-friendly. Javier Lapinas Sr., an organic farmer shared that the soil cultivated organically is healthier and softer compared to soil applied with commercial fertilizers.
Organic farming is still relevant
As of January 2023, there are 39 organic farmers from Lagawa Organic Agriculture and Farmers Association with over 7,540 square meters of farmland being cultivated organically based on the official data collected from OMAG.
However, this number only coincides with the official reports but does not represent the whole of Bauko. Malecdan remarks that most of the farmers are already switching to organic farming.
Hence, this number may increase in the years to come.
Some farmers are still unable to fully convert to organic agriculture due to some factors. Some of these are the high demand for food production and the need to gain a larger profit. Thus, farmers stick to the use of commercial fertilizers and pesticides where everything is deemed faster and easier.
As Malecdan said, “It is not simple to convert into organic farming, it is laborious but there is an assurance of healthy food and sustainable food production.”
It is proven that organic farming may be complicated but its positive effects on the ecosystem are long-lasting. That is why, OMAG continuously encourages organic agriculture through IEC materials, training, and other activities since it is never too late to practice sustainable farming.
What is organic farming?
According to the Philippine Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 or RA 10068 as cited by DA, “organic agriculture (OA) includes all agricultural systems that promote the ecologically sound, socially acceptable, economically viable and technically feasible production of food and fibers. It dramatically reduces external inputs by refraining from the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals.”
Malecdan added that the production of healthy, chemical free-food, and the enrichment of soil are some of the main advantages of organic agriculture or farming. By Carl Joshua R. Jumao-as