Organic farming produces safe and healthy food for the populace. But aside from its positive health impacts, organic farming has the potential to uplift the socio-economic status of farmers, according to LGU-Koronadal Focal Person on Organic Farming Eric Miguel.

“Kung certified organic ang mga gulay sang farmers, pwede sila maka-demand sang premium price. Hindi na ang middle man ang magdikta sang presyo kundi ang farmers nga amo ang nagapaningkamot tanom para sa aton pagkaon,” said Miguel. “But first, farmers must really internalize organic farming as a way of life. Dapat kumbinsido sila sa concept,” he added.

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For 16 weeks, 25 vegetable growers from nine different barangays of Tacurong City were trained on organic vegetable production funded by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI).

The said group will be organized to serve as certifying body of organic vegetables produced within the city using the Internal Control System (ICS).

With their basic knowledge on ICS, the group will be able to certify organic vegetables that will be sold in the city’s Organic Trading Post. The certification will assure consumers that vegetables have passed the standards for organically-grown farm produce. This serves as second-party certification.

During the season-long training, participants applied the essential principles of organic farming in a field trial located in Barangay Calean, Tacurong City. They grew eggplants, their main crop, and studied four experimental plots with different volumes of organic fertilizer applied. They also grew lady fingers (okra) and bitter gourd (ampalaya) as buffer plants.

The training was facilitated by agricultural technologists of the Office for City Agricultural Services.

The farmer-trainees were conferred as graduates on March 15, 2016

This season-long training is the third phase of the ATI program on Organic Agriculture Internal Control System for organic vegetable farming. Said participants also undergone the first and second phase on July and September 2015, respectively. The two phases involved seminars and trainings on ICS organic farming. (Jez Billano-Fabreag, LGU Tacurong City Information)