Davao town switches to organic rice farming
(The Philippine Star) - February 22, 2015 - 12:00am

ASUNCION, Davao del Norte , Philippines – Rice farmers here have strengthened the goal of rice self-sufficiency in the Davao region as most of them have converted to organic rice farming.

In 2013, the town was granted a P2 million special project dubbed Organic Rice Production Enhancement Program (ORPEP) by the Department of Agriculture (DA) under the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process (GPBP).

The ORPEP was  facilitated by an income generating project of the local government unit (LGU) named Agri Business Enterprise Farmers Assistance Program (ABE-FAP) where they identified 140 farmers from the 11 barangays of Asuncion as farmer-beneficiaries.

The selected farmer-beneficiaries who hardly support their farm inputs availed themselves of an P 18,000 loan good for one hectare from ABE-FAP. 

The project aims to gradually convert conventional rice farmers to organic farmers within a period of three years. The rice farmers are prohibited from using  insecticides.

Danilo Bulahan, an ORPEP beneficiary who owns a two hectare farmland, already had a huge debt when he had to borrow money for the cost of synthetic methods like inorganic fertilizers.

“When I was still using synthetic fertilizers, it would cost me P20,000-P25,000 per hectare. It lowered down to P10,000-P11,000 when I engaged in organic farming,” Bulahan said.

From his growing income, he was able to acquire five carabaos, two turtle-type tractors, kuliglig farm tractors and thresher.

“Because of the success of using organic rice farming, I am now constructing our new house worth P1 million,” Bulahan revealed.

Meanwhile, Asuncion Mayor Joseph Nilo Pareñas said that a 100 percent increase in yield was noted  in terms of the farming status in their town.

“The project brought economic and environmental benefits in the town. Now that most rice farmers are engaged in organic farming, declining amount of toxins go to rivers and lands which are harmful to residents, unlike before when farmers cultivate their fields using conventional methods with plenty of fertilizers and pesticides that had consequences”, Pareñas added.

Currently, a total of 130 hectares of the farmlands in Asuncion are now organic rice farms and ABE-FAP continues to provide financing and marketing assistance to rice farmers in the municipality. Farmers who have paid their loan in full have the opportunity to avail of the program in the succeeding cropping season.

Based  on  records from the DA’s Region 11, a total of P57 million through GPBP was allocated in the province, of which P25.7 million has been utilized. 

The remaining P31.3 million is set to be turned over to the different local government units of the province after the enabling documents were approved. Twenty-three out of the 55 projects were already implemented and turned over. 

On the other hand, DA Region 11 hopes that more farmers would  avail of the program and its long term benefits, enabling  farmers to escape the debt trap.

Agriculture regional director Remelyn Recoter said that the DA continues to provide assistance to the farmers.

She added that the GPBP program is pushing farm mechanization for the farmers and beneficiaries to become self-sufficient and competitive.





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