Pangasinan town issues ordinance for organic farming
INGAYEN, Pangasinan—The agriculture town of Pozorrubio has taken steps toward promoting and developing organic farming, starting with the passage of an ordinance that mandates the local government to provide funds for the venture.
The Pozorrubio town council has submitted the ordinance, titled “An ordinance institutionalizing, promoting and developing organic farming in Pozorrubio,” to the provincial board for approval.
During a public hearing on the program, acting town agriculture officer Clarito Corpuz said the shift to organic farming would be gradual and pilot projects that would follow the municipal organic agriculture plan would be established.
“We will establish pilot projects in new areas and not those already cultivated. The Department of Agriculture and the local government will help in terms of technical support,” he said.
In the public hearing’s minutes submitted to the provincial board, Corpuz said that during the transition period, production should be expected to go down, that was why the productive areas would not be used for organic farming.
“We will tap new areas for this project,” he said.
Pozorrubio (pop: 66,111 as of 2010) is a rice-producing town. Farmers there also grow sugarcane, tobacco, mango, vegetables, legumes, coconut, corn and cotton.
Local officials said the town’s organic farming program complied with the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 (Republic Act No. 10068), which urges local governments to support organic farming.
Corpuz said everyone would benefit from the program because the town would promote the use of biodegradable materials as fertilizers to reduce local farmers’ dependence on imported inorganic fertilizers.
“We will also use biological control of pests so that our harvests will be chemical-free,” he said.
The town has engaged in vermiculture or the use of earthworms to produce fertilizer out of biodegradable materials such as rejected vegetables, dried leaves and twigs.
The local government would support farmers in marketing their organic produce, Corpuz said.
Onofre Alvendia, barangay council member in the town, has started practicing organic farming and from a hectare of riceland, he has been harvesting 150 to 160 cavans of hybrid rice.
“Before harvesting palay, I scatter mongo seeds in the rice fields and these will be stepped on and buried in the ground while we harvest. After five days, the seeds will have germinated. You can harvest the mongo seeds and the plants become fertilizer,” he said.
He also urged other farmers not to burn hay and instead spread this over their fields so this could mix with the soil when the land is plowed.
Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon