Department of Agriculture, Western Pangasinan towns partner with La Liga for organic farming project

The Department of Agriculture through its Regional Field Unit in the Ilocos Region (Region 1) is partnering with several local government units in Western Pangasinan and the La Liga Policy Institute (La Liga) to launch a three-month project aimed at further boosting organic rice farming in the province.

Dubbed Organikong Palayan Farmers Mentoring Support Project launched on Tuesday, the project targets to enhance skills and knowledge of at least 150 organic agriculture farmer practitioners from Alaminos City, and the towns of Bani, Burgos, Dasol and Infanta, all situated in Western Pangasinan.

The project aims to further assist farmers who have begun their shift to organic agriculture through peer mentoring and at the same time, select farmers who will be groomed to become certified organic agriculture trainers to increase the current pool of trainers of the DA in the province.

“Through the project, we hope to sustain the gains of the Organikong Palayan – Pangasinan wherein 300 farmers graduated from a season long training on organic farming. This is consistent with the Aquino administration’s commitment to promote environment-friendly and sustainable food production practices,” says Roland Cabigas, President and Managing Director of La Liga.

La Liga, a development policy research nongovernment organization is actively campaigning for the shift to organic farming in Luzon.

Through Organikong Palayan, 45 farmer practitioners including the rice technicians from the partner LGUs and officers of farmers’ associations will become mentors and season-long trainers after their graduation as certified organic agriculture trainers.

Dasol Mayor Noel Nacar, current president of the Pangasinan Mayor’s League said the project bolsters the commitment of farmers of Western Pangasinan to permanently shift to organic agriculture; and enhance the capacity of farmers in sustainable agriculture and organic farming.

Project proponents believe that the shift to organic farming will enable resource-poor farmers to do business in agriculture by producing their own organic fertilizer and avoiding the excessive use of expensive and often harmful chemical fertilizers that pollute the soil, water and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

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