Bukidnon, NorthMin organic rice country by 2013, says expert

SINAYAWAN, Valencia City (Bukidnon News Dispatch/28 Sept)— An organic
rice expert from the National Irrigation Administration predicted that
Bukidnon and the rest of Northern Mindanao’s rice lands will be organic
by 2013 with a program boosting the demonstration of organic rice
farming throughout the region.

Ildefonso Natingga Jr, NIA-10 organic rice demonstration officer, told
Bukidnon News recently that the feat is possible with the domino effect
starting from farmers who are taking part of the agency’s organic rice
demonstration project among irrigators’ associations in Northern
Mindanao.

He said they have developed half a hectare of rice farms in 95 sites
around the region as organic rice demonstration farms, which is
programmed up to 2013.Natingga admitted that the project, a joint undertaking between the
Department of Agriculture 10 regional field office and the NIA-10, is
the same P30-million project plagued by controversy in the
questionable supply of organic fertilizers, which a Department of
Agriculture fact-finding team found to be fraught with irregularities.

But he said the program used another type of organic and liquid
fertilizers produced and supplied by another firm based in Cebu.
He said unlike the organic fertilizers supplied by MLB Enterprises
sourced from producer Bayugan-based 3K and C Enterprises, the present
brand of fertilizers are effective in the demonstration farms he
developed.

NIA-10 took the project using DA funds to support the irrigators
associations, Julius Maquiling, NIA-10 regional director said earlier.

Natingga said from the estimated 45 cavans of palay produced from the
half-hectare farm using synthetic fertilizers, farmers participating
in his demo-farms now produce from the minimum of 59 up to 81 cavans per half
hectare.

“There is no (crop) failure in organic farming,” he said in an
interview. Natingga said 71 of the 95 test sites for organic farming
are in Bukidnon.

He said farmers in Valencia and Maramag who discovered the high yield
of organic fertilizers convinced their neighbors through word of
mouth. This, he said, will help the government propagate organic farming.

But he stressed that it is possible only with the use of the right
organic materials.

Natingga, however, refused to comment on what happened to the
procurement process of the P30 million organic fertilizer project of
NIA-10 which was started in 2009.

He said he found the first batch of organic fertilizers supplied by 3K
and C Enterprises as good and he even used it in the demo-farms. But he
stopped using it when they run out of stock and when the next batches
arrived.  When the controversy broke out, he started using organic
fertilizers from other sources.

Natingga also said the farmers may eventually have to produce their own
organic fertilizers. He said they are looking at organizing the
irrigators associations as
producers of organic fertilizers, too.

Natingga said they are proposing to subsidize a piggery farm of which
waste can be used in producing organic fertilizer for the farmer’s
rice production needs. He added that farmers will share as counterpart
the shelter and the hog head. The NIA may subsidize the feeds for the
initial run of the farmers. Each hog head consumes 157 kilos of feeds
in its four months cycle.  (Walter I.Balane/Bukidnon News)

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