Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Organic area in Western Visayas reaches 40%

About 40 percent of the land area in Western Visayas is now into organic farming.

Department of Agriculture-6 regional technical director Joyce Wendam said that 13,345 hectares in Western Visayas are covered by organic agriculture.

Wendam said that the department is targeting to cover 33,345 hectares for organic farming.

In terms of implementation of organic agriculture by the provinces in the region, Negros Occidental topped the list, followed by Guimaras.

“Negros Occidental is leading and we know that Negros Occidental is the birthplace of organic farming,” she said.

She said that going organic will make the commodities globally competitive in preparations for the Asean Economic Cooperation this year.

“But aside from that, we have to promote organic agriculture in order for our farmers to raise their income and sustain their livelihood,” she stressed.

“Going organic will ensure better health, promote environmental protection, disaster risk reduction and climate change resilience and social justice,” she further stressed.

She said that DA is pushing for organic agriculture, as it is one of the programs of the agency to respond to climate change.

The program is championed by DA Secretary Proceso Alcala, who also authored the Organic Act, she said.

Monday, May 11, 2015

DepEd conducts orientation on crop production

The Department of Education in Negros Occidental, in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment-6, recently conducted an orientation on crop production at Negros Occidental High School Resource Center, Bacolod City.

Resource speaker Elmer Gimay, Labor Employment Officer of DOLE Bacolod City, discussed the Youth Entrepreneurship Support Program of the agency, which aims to help underprivileged but deserving students and develop them into young entrepreneurs.

Financial grants to be used as capital to start viable business projects related to agriculture will be available to students for them to earn their own income and be financially self-reliant.

DOLE-6 regional director Ponciano Ligutom tackled the role of the schools, which include preparing the students for employment in the future by providing career counselling and facilitating and supervising the livelihood projects.

Ligutom urged the students to prioritize organic farming as this is the most feasible business nowadays.

Project proposals will be accommodated on a first come-first served basis, and only those considered worthy will be given financial assistance, he said.

The orientation was attended by 35 participants - principals, technology, livelihood and entrepreneurship heads, senior high school coordinators and agriculture subject coordinators from schools in the Division of Negros Occidental.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Surigao Steps up Agri-Tourism Development

Surigao City – In celebrating its 114th founding anniversary, Surigao del Norte vowed to step up its agri-tourism potential with local officials encouraging farmers to continuously practice organic and natural farming to increase production and help in the country’s food security.
At the same time, consumers in the province must patronize and use local food products in abundance in the province.
“Aside from farming and fishing program, we must also continue to take care and protect the beauty and abundance of nature,” Surigao del Norte Gov. Sol F. Matugas, citing the beautiful beaches, amazing islands, islets and famous surfing areas in the province particularly in Siargao Island now in the world map of surfing destinations.
The governor also took pride in the peace and security of the province which is widely appreciated by tourists around the world.
“This is the most peaceful province…. the beauty of Siargao and cleanliness and everything is here, especially the beauty of nature so we must take care of these blessings from God,” stressed the governor.
The governor said economic improvement is already very much in place in the various tourist spots and the paved roads leading to such destinations.
Region Xlll DPWH Regional Director Danilo E. Versola said there are 22 road projects worth P1.3 billion are in the pipeline this year with the bulk going to Surigao del Norte, Siargao Island and Surigao del Sur.
The anniversary celebration that will last until May 15 and is participated in by all provincial, municipal and barangay officials as well as national government and non-government organizations.
This year’s celebration with the theme, “Empowering Communities through Sustainable Agri-Tourism Development” began yesterday with opening parade and program at the provincial gymnasium here.
A 2015 Farmers’ and Fisherfolk’s Forum with theme, “Ipadajon Pagkaon Surigaonon, Let’s Do Organic and Nature Farming” was held after which a boodle lunch and ribbon cutting of Agri-Trade Fair Exhibits dubbed “ATO INI Produkto ug Pagkaong Surigaonon” and  cultural show dubbed “Pasundayag” followed at  the Provincial Sports Complex Oval here.
Other activities lined up for the nine-day celebration include: Team Capitol Sports Fest , Bandahan, Hataw sa Surigao: Zumba na Surigaonon, Mountain Bike and BMX Tournament,; Inter-municipality Solo Singing Competition “TINGOG SURIGAONON 2015”, Local History Writing Seminar, Wellness and Natural Healing Seminar, Hip-Hop Dance Competition “Talento Surigaonon”- Opening of Local Artists’ Gallery and Photo Exhibit, “Pasundayag”nan Kanta, Sajaw ug Balak Sinurigao”, Povincial Youth Entrepreneurship Summit and Pasundayag-back to back concert with live bands from  Visayas.
On May 15, the founding day, there will be a centennial thanksgiving mass followed by a flag- raising, a program and blessing and inauguration of Go Negosyo Convergence Center. The agri-fair closes with an awarding ceremony.
Written by: Mika Crismundo

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Urban Agri Trade Show a Big Success

Sen. Cynthia Villar looking at fruiting figs
Urban farming and gardening is becoming more and more popular than you and I would think.
One good indication is the Urban Agriculture Trade Show that was staged by Agriculture Magazine of the Manila Bulletin on May 1-3 at the Rockwell Tent In Makati City. Right on opening day, the event was literally swarmed by attendees.
We didn’t expect that the event would attract people from faraway places. Among the first arrivals were Ernesto Dancel and his wife Maritess. Ernesto is an OFW from Dubai. After planing  in and checking in at a nearby hotel with his wife who met him at the airport, they immediately proceeded to the Rockwell Tent to attend the trade show. They were particularly interested in exotic fruit varieties. They didn’t only attend the first day, they also came back the next day to buy more fruit tree planting materials.
Others who came from distant places included Dr. Wilfredo Tiu of Dinagat Island in Mindanao; Al Balce and Lourdes Lobregat who operate the Abundant Orgnic Enterprises Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Zamboanga City; Wilhelmino R. Mendoza of Cagayan de Oro who is a banker but interested in farming; Nestor Archival of Cebu City who came to watch the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight at Rockwell and to attend the trade show; William and Zenaida Miranda of Alaminos, Pangasinan and many others.
They came to attend the trade show to find out what’s new and what’s workable in urban farming. They were not disappointed because there were so many doable things that they can adopt in their own brand of urban farming. There were also a lot of ideas discussed in the seminars which were all free.
STARTER KIT – Carlo Sumaoang of Novatech has come up with his vegetable starter kit which could entice the young and not-so-young to try growing vegetables. We saw Sen. Cynthia Villar and Sister Ping Ocariza of the Daughters of St. Paul showing a lot of interest in the starter kit. One kit in a box consists of a biodegradable coco husk pot, potting medium of coco peat and organic fertilizer, and instructions from the beginning up to harvest time. In fact, there is also a recipe at the back of the instruction manual.
GROW BAGS FROM MACONDRAY – Macondray Plastic Products, Inc. demonstrated how one can grow so many leafy salad vegetables and herbs on just three square meters. This is by using their grow bags which can be installed on a rack (see photo). The company also has a bag for making silage out of corn stover or napier grass.
PLANTS IN SODA BOTTLES – Then there is the technology of Dr. Eduardo Paningbatan Jr., a retired professor and soil science researcher from UP Los Baños. He grows vegetables and herbs in soda bottles using potting medium and nutrients that he himself developed. He has also developed a technique in aquaponics whereby he “seats” plants grown on paper cups on a horizontally-halved drum filled with water. His plants in recycled soda bottles were the bestsellers in the trade show.
SELF-WATERING POTS – Mary Ann Wu of Ever Rich Nursery also showcased her self-watering pots which will enable urban gardeners who are holding office to take care of plants without having to water them every day.
VEGGIES IN A CABINET – One company also displayed how urban dwellers can grow plants inside their homes in what look like common cabinets with glass door. Lettuce and herbs grow well under artificial light in the cabinets.
GORGEOUS LETTUCE FROM ALLIED – Easily one of the best attention-getters was the display of Allied Botanical Corporation which was dominated by green and colored lettuce plants as big as the head, grown in black plastic bags. Aside from that, they exhibited fruits of their new tomato and pepper varieties. One of the most notable was the tomato Rugantino that weighs 150 to 200 grams per fruit. The fruit is in the shape of an ox heart, excellent for salad because it is tasty and fleshy.
Space is limited so we will tell you more about interesting observations at the first Urban Agriculture Trade Show organized by Agriculture Magazine. Watch for the second staging of the show which could even be more successful.

Written by: Zac Sarian

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Block farming pushed in Negros Occidental

The Sugar Regulatory Administration is urging the farmers especially the agrarian reform beneficiaries to practice block farming.

SRA Administrator Gina Martin said they are encouraging agrarian reform beneficiaries to engage in block farming so that the farms distributed by the government can continue to be productive.

Martin said that block farming is the same as cooperative. “The only difference is there is a memorandum of agreement that a farm manager will oversee the farm,” she said.

She said that there are 16 block farms in Negros Occidental, and a block farm should have at least 30 hectares.

“Negros Occidental produces 50 percent of the total volume of the sugar produced in the country,” Martin stressed.

Martin is also urging the provincial government to push for block farming among the agrarian reform beneficiaries.

The block farming scheme stemmed after SRA found out that 90 percent of sugarcane farms in the country have areas of 10 hectares of less.

Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, for his part, said that board members can help facilitate and encourage the farm beneficiaries to bundle up together “because if you cut the farm into one hectare per farmer it becomes less productive.”


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