Going Back to Basic Farming: ATI, JICA Hold Forum on Good Practices in Organic Farming

DILIMAN, Quezon City – To be a developed agricultural country, one must go back to the “basics of farming.“
 
This was the assertion during the knowledge sharing forum on Good Practices in Organic Farming focused on Safe Vegetable Promotion Project that was organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI).

The forum aimed to raise awareness on and share good practices and results of the Safe Vegetable from Rich Soil (SAVERS) Technology as well as seek possible collaboration with the Department of Agriculture in order to improve the technology adoption of  farmers and fishers. Participants of the forum were selected technical staff from the Department’s attached bureaus and agencies specifically Bureau of Plant Industry, National Agribusiness Corporation, Bureau of Animal Industry, Philippine Coconut Authority, Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Products Standards, and National Agriculture and Fisheries Council. Representatives from DA-Regional Field Units and ATI-Regional Training Centers also attended the forum.
 
“With organic farming as one of the advocacies of the Department of Agriculture, SAVERS is a good technology to look into, so we should be able to work together and promote these kind of technology,” ATI Director Asterio P. Saliot said. He added that “this technology is a big opportunity that needs a lot of collaborative work.”
 
SAVERS Technology which uses the concept of organic farming intends to increase production through soil improvement and cut production costs by reducing the use of chemical insecticides and pesticides as well as inorganic fertilizers. Enriching the soil is considered a basic in farming and to be able to achieve this, the Japan Agricultural Exchange Council (JAEC), introduced the SAVERS Technology with the use of the Mokusaku.
 
Mokusaku is a liquid substance obtained when organic materials such as wood, coconut shell, bamboo, and other plants are placed in a heating chamber. A project on the application of this technology in Philippine condition is now being implemented in Benguet, in partnership with its provincial government.
 
In the case of Benguet Province where vegetable production is its main source of income, the soil is already gradually deteriorating. With no time for the soil to regain its nutrients after harvest while soil microorganisms are killed because of massive application of inorganic fertilizers, hence the soil is not favorable for planting vegetables. Mokusaku which has the ability as soil enhancer and microorganism activator aims to address this problem.
 
The forum was held last July 22, 2011 at Max’s Restaurant, Quezon City Memorial Circle, Diliman, Quezon City. (Benedict C. Natividad, photo by Clemente Gabion)