Zarraga to go into full organic farming

Amid concerns that chemical farming has contributed to climate change, which in turn affects the farmers’ yield and income, the local government of Zarraga is keen on implementing organic farming among all its farmers.
“We have conducted at least three seminars already and consulted with the farmers. I encouraged them that we go organic for the whole town of Zarraga. But, we will do it gradually,” Mayor John Tarrosa said.
“The farmers were asked to submit a data of their average income in the last 10 to 15 years while they are using the chemical method of farming. What was their profit at the end of the year? So I can convince them that it’s better to go organic,” he said.
Tarrosa said that climate change brings unpredictable rains, thus, the farmers face a bigger risk if they use chemical fertilizers.
“Mag-abono sila, basi ulanan kon indi timing, so dula abono nila. Unlike sa organic, less ang risk and the yield would be bigger,” he said.
He added that some farmers admitted that they had been losing due to the risks brought about by climate change.
Tarrosa hopes that everything – vegetables, fruits and farm animals will be organic.
Last August, the LGU, in partnership with global network Mission (Movement of Imaginals for Sustainable Societies Through Initiatives, Organizing and Networking) has conducted a workshop with swine and poultry raisers in the hope that animal wastes will be converted into compost which the farmers will use instead of chemical fertilizers.
 “We will fully implement this during the first cropping next year. At present, we are still educating the farmers on organic farming. That’s why we will conduct another seminar and have invited all the experts and major stakeholders,” Tarrosa said.
Some farmers expressed concern as to who will buy their produce, but Tarrosa said they have already identified the markets starting with the Zarraganhons themselves.
“I said, we guarantee that if they produce, we will buy and look for other markets, too. They need not worry,” he said.
Tarrosa said the LGU has not specified a budget for the program, and rather it is unlimited as long as all farmers will go into organic farming.
“It is unlimited as long as we will realize that Zarraga will be an organic farming community. The provincial, regional and national government have been supporting this program. So, how fast we can do this would depend on how cooperative our farmers will be,” he said.
“Our budget is flexible. Kon sin-o nga farmers ang mag-indulge into organic, they will have their respective budgets,” he added.
Initially, the LGU has provided P100,000 capital to all organic farmers.
He added that the Department of Agriculture has provided the LGU with P 1.5 million for the organic trading post at the public market where they can showcase their organic produce.
“One million will be spent on the building; P300,000 for the equipment and P200,000 for miscellaneous,” Tarrosa concluded./Marie Katherine Villalon

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