Erle Frayne Argonza
Good morning from Manila!
If there is any thought that the islanders of Negros would want themselves to be known the world over, it is their being dubbed as the “Philippines’ organic island.” And rightly so, for they have, under the initiative of the governors of the island, been moving heaven and earth to get the entire island towards that goal since 2005 yet.
The provinces of Negros Occidental (West) and Negros Oriental (West) concurred over the idea around three (3) years ago today, to transform the entire island into an organic paradise. The island used to be almost exclusively planted to sugar, a pattern that had since been modified towards multi-crop and biodiversity enterprises. For sure, the organic initiative will lead the entire island towards biodiversity, even as it has become common policy in the two provinces to see to it that both farms and backyards (including middle class village homes) should cultivate plants.
I was privileged to be invited as a major guess speaker by the province of Negros and partner NGOs in 2005 on the occasion of the launching of the organic island project. I just concluded a book on fair trade & food security then for the KAISAMPALAD, the national NGO council for fair trade & food security, when I got the invitation to share notes about food security to the people of Negros. I found the enthusiasm of the people for the project very high, it was indubitably a very popular movement since even the radical groups there were enthusiastically involved.
I couldn’t forget that event as the organizers timed it with the Mascara Festival of Bacolod City/Negros Occidental. The pageant night, when the Miss Bacolod was chosen, was truly an enchanting night of performances by artists who were wearing the classic mask designs for that occasion, coupled with pyrotechnics and band performances. The occasion catapulted the organic movement to euphoric heights!
The news item below indicates that the organic initiative has been surging ahead, as local counterpart funding for its growth phase has been moving up too. May this organic experience light up the other islands of the blessed Republic so as to make the archipelago green again.
MANILA, Philippines – Negros Oriental province has earmarked an initial P3 million for popularization of the use of organic fertilizer in the province, an online news site reported.
Visayan Daily Star reported that NegOrganic NOW (Nutrients Of Worms) program is gaining headway through verme composting.
Provincial agriculturist Gregorio Paltinca also said the program is promoting the production of natural fermented solution.
He said trainings and seminars are being conducted for farmer beneficiaries before they are given 500 grams of worms.
But he stressed this is not a dole-out, as the recipient-farmer has to return what is given to him after six months, to be distributed to other farmers.
Government hopes to provide all farmers in the province with the needed worms and technology to produce organic fertilizer.
Paltinca said organic farming has been proven to increase the farmers’ yields, produce chemical-free vegetables and other farm products, as well as good for the environment.
Meanwhile, Gov. Emilio Macias II ordered Paltinca to come up with a time frame for the production of organic fertilizer. – GMANews.TV