Some 115 farmers positively responded on the Information Caravan conducted by the Department of Agriculture (DA) through its Organic Agriculture Program (OAP) in the municipality of Margosatubig, Zamboanga del Sur last week.

The activity is in support to the Presidential Proclamation No. 1030 (since May 2015) declaring the month of November as Organic Agriculture Month. It aims to encourage farmers to go organic and participate in vermi-compost production as stepping stone.

Among the topics discussed were the Importance of Soil Sampling and the various Biological Control Agents formulated in the Regional Crop Protection Center (RCPC) explained by the Soils Laboratory Staff Ms. Anabel Sindayen and RCPC Staff Mr. Anacleto Quilantang, respectively.

OAP Report Officer, Janice Legaspi informed the participants on the different services and assistance they could possibly get from DA-OAP if they choose to go organic farming. “Aside from the technical assistance we could give you, the DA also have machineries intended for organic farmers through registered associations.”she said.

The Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) also joined in the caravan represented by Engr. Teddy Zarris and Engr. Wilfredo Gultiano. They presented the programs they offer in line with the organic agriculture.

Mrs. Ana Maria Lao, a successful organic practitioner from Titay, Zamboanga Sibugay was invited to share her success. “The worm named African Night Crawler (ANC) is small but this will make us bigtime. Hard-work and perseverance is the key to success. There was a time, I never had sales for 18 months but I never surrendered. Look where I am today, because of vermi casts, I was able to buy 6-wheeler truck which I used for deliveries now. I am in an association and in a month our group will income as much as 500 thousand to 1.2 million,” said Lao.

Lao is the president of the Sibugay Vermi-Growers Association (SIVERGA). All off their members are producing vermi casts and whenever there are orders, their products will be consolidated to meet the demand.

“In this business, I am not the only one benefiting. Aside from our personal incomes, our association has income. More so, we are helping save our environment, the health of our famers and consumers.

During the open forum, participants raised pile of questions on the procedure of the vermi cast production, its management and the market. Mrs. Lao together with the DA-OAP team were able to answer every query, marking enthusiasm to start their own production. (MDaguro/DA9)

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