It is heartening to find articles like this from all over the world. Here’s an excerpt from a piece by Ver F. Pacete in the Sun Star in which Mr. Rmon Uy, who operates Fresh Start Organic Farm at Hda. Maquina in Silay, confesses, “I am not a farmer by profession.” Nevertheless his farmer instinct tells him, “what should happen if Negros Occidental wants to retain its title as the Organic Capital of the Philippines [is] organic farmers should become organic farming disciples first and should live the advocacy of organic farming. They should turn away from the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.”
In the farm of Mr. Uy, student farmers are instructed how to prepare their own compost fertilizers and natural insecticides by introducing them to plants that attract and repel gardens insects. Organic farmers can improve poor soil and increase food production by growing combination of crops. This farming method adopted by our disciples protects the land by putting back the nutrients into the soil, and also conserves the environment. It is found out that it is very hard to rehabilitate land that was formerly planted with sugarcane. The chemical fertilizer and pesticide made the soil very poor. Farmers spread animal manure which is a natural source of nitrogen and other nutrients that crops need for healthy growth. Organic farmers grow a band of natural vegetation around the edge of their fields. There we have hedges, trees and woods that provide shelter and food sources for insects, birds and animals. Here in Negros, it becomes a trend that farmers raise ducks, chicken and geese for their eggs and meat. Gov. Freddie is encouraging farmers to have sheep, goats and pigs. Those who are engaged in rice farming are motivated to stock their rice paddies with fish. Intercropping, the growing of one crop alongside a different crop, can improve soil by having natural fertilizer. Organic farming discourages farmers to raise their chicken in battery units (huge sheds containing up to 10,000 birds). Meats from feedlots or factory farms are not good for the health. These animals may have been given hormones to gain weight faster and antibiotics to prevent infection. In the world, there is an on-going debate on the adoption of genetically modified (GM) crops. Scientists and experts on biotechnology alter the characteristics of crops by splicing genes from one plant into a totally unrelated plant. Gov. Freddie does not want GM products to enter Negros Occidental. It is risky to the environment, human health, and agriculture and the risk is irreversible. That could be the reason why the officers and members of the Organik na Negros! Organic Producers and Retailers Association (Onopra) are very strict on the quality control of their products. With organic farming, we also endorse agro forestry, the growing of crops and trees together to protect crops from the sun; and clean energy that does not cause pollution. We have also allies in our covenant with organic farming: Bird Life International, Center for Marine Conservation, Worldwide Fund for Nature, Greenpeace, etc. Organic farming is not just about food production for health. It is also about the preservation of Mother Earth.