A partnership to develop a 500-hectare organic farm is being proposed by the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) with the Central Philippines State University (CPSU) based in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.
Negros Occidental Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino said on Tuesday he has started talks with CPSU president Aladino Moraca to come up with a scheme to promote the province’s organic agriculture industry.
He added that they will tap the parents of the students, who are recipients of PHP20,000 per semester school incentives from the national government.
“Instead of giving them directly their allowances, we are looking at utilizing the fund for organic farming whether livestock or crops,” Masculino said.
More than 1,000 students of CPSU Kabankalan campus are children of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries, and 90 percent are children of farmers.
Masculino said Moraca informed him that they all receive a total school allowance of about PHP52 million per year.
Under the scheme, the parents will be tasked to plant in their respective farms utilizing the allowances of their children for inputs like fertilizer.
Through this intervention, it will be ensured that the incentives given by the government to them are put to good use and they can contribute to the expansion of organic agriculture areas in the province, Masculino said.
The OPA and CPSU-Kabankalan are finalizing the agreement targeted for implementation during the second cropping season this year.
“Once realized, the scheme will result in an additional 500 hectares of organic farms,” Masculino added.
The OPA chief noted that there is a need for an aggressive campaign to boost organic agriculture production in Negros Occidental.
He said farmers who would like to shift from conventional to organic farming should be given other assistance, not only technical support.
“Organic fertilizer is the most limiting factor. Farmers must be given assistance at least as a startup input,” Masculino added.( Erwin Nicavera via NDB)