“Let us bring back the time wherein our soil was fertile and productive, the crops grow easily and healthy, without applying fertilizer or any inorganic additives,” said Arnulfo Estrada, DA9- Agricultural Program Coordinator (APCo) for ZC during the Organic Agriculture Information Caravan held in Barangay Culianan, Zamboanga City during the Hermosa festival week.

Over a hundred local farmers from the six agricultural districts in the city; Ayala, Tumaga, Manicahan, Culianan, Curuan, and Vitali made their way to the host barangay of Culianan to participate in the activity.

“I pray that you (participants) will give importance to the lectures and insights from our speakers and that you will also help us through applying everything that will be shared in this caravan in your own farms,” pleaded Acting City Agriculturist Carmencita Sanchez among the potential organic farmers.

Zamboanga Peninsula has a total agricultural area of 448,000 hectares from which Zamboanga City shares a vast 65,000 hectares of farmland. Under the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, five percent (5%) of agricultural areas must be cultivated into organic farms. Zamboanga City, to date, only has 554 hectares of organic farmland falling short of the required proportion according to OAP focal person Janice Legaspi.

Lectures from DA IX’s Regional Crop Protection Center and Regional Soils Laboratory were also imparted to the farmers highlighting their core functions and services such as pest counteraction and soil analysis respectively.

Engr. Jose Ariel Alameda of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) expressed his gratitude for the strong promotion of organic agriculture in the region. “The mandate of BSWM is to produce organic fertilizers to help our organic practitioners secure their needs in farming”, added Almeda.

Zamboanga Peninsula Organic Practitioners Association President Ana Maria Lao discussed the procedures in vermicast production from the simple gathering of organic wastes down to trading its yield or the vermicast in the market. She even committed to be the first buyer of the farmers’ vermicast once it is made available for business.

Initiated by the Department of Agriculture IX’s Organic Agriculture Program (OAP) in coordination with the Zamboanga City Agriculture’s Office, the InfoCar aims to promote organic farming among the Zamboangueño farmers and equip them with essential knowledge in organic agriculture especially the familiarization of the opportunities and services offered by DA IX through its programs and partner agencies.

Another OAP info caravan will be conducted in Mabuhay, Zamboanga Sibugay Province on November 27, 2018. (DReyes/DA9)

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