Bukidnon ‘s farmers’ field day to boost organic farming

MALAYBALAY CITY – The provincial government is opening the doors of its Assistance for Low Income Communities and Settlers (ALICS) Project on August 30 to showcase its organic farming efforts to around 1,000 farmers from the province’s 20 towns and two cities, Engr. Alson Quimba,  provincial agriculturist, said.

The project, based in Diklum, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, is located in the defunct Bukidnon Economic and Industrial Zone, which hosts the controversial Bukidnon Resources Company, Inc. (BRCI), a defunct tomato paste factory.

The province converted the compound into an agricultural haven last year led by the economic sector of the provincial government.

The program covers operations of a goat breeder farm, lowland and upland rice production, corn production, vermin production, nursery, fisheries, mango production, orchards and ornamentals, large animal production like cattle, and honeybee production.

Quimba told this reporter via telephone Monday they intended to recognize about 41 farmers who previously received farming awards.

They also would want to showcase what they have been doing in ALICS.

He said among the highlights is the showcase on the harvest and milling of adlai, a locally grown cereal that is alternative to rice and corn for staple food.

The occasion, he added, will also be an opportunity to introduce new farming technologies to farmers.

Quimba said their biggest advocacy in the event is to tell the farmers that they must already “go organic.” He said the farmers’ field day will focus on the province’s organic farming policy.

“Definitely we are going for organic farming,” he added, although he admitted that “it won’t be abrupt.”

Gov. Alex Calingasan, in his inaugural speech in 2010, cited that he will prioritize agriculture and livelihood in his administration.

The livelihood program, he said, will be implemented with more impetus in additional areas of concern. He vowed to locate a demonstration farm for seed production on palay and corn in the BRCI site.

“This way, we are able to address the need for seeds as a support to our farmers and showcase our gains in palay and corn production. Indigent farmers will be our priority in the production of these seeds,” the governor added.

He also vowed to pursue another important concern, a demonstration farm for goats, intended for dispersal to indigent families to support their livelihood activities.

MindaNews reported in September 2010, that the capitol will boost its own goat dispersal program with the scheduled opening this year of the P2.2-million goat breeder farm in Manolo Fortich town, according to a report from the Provincial Veterinary Office.

Calingasan earlier announced this would be among his projects, to address the needs of select farmers who are into goat-raising projects under the livelihood program funded by the provincial government.

Dr. Nancy V. Diez, PVO chief, said then that they have started clearing a five-hectare pasture land in Barangay Diklum in Manolo Fortich, an hectare of which is intended for the barn.

The breeder farm will also serve as a techno-demo and production farm for the local government to showcase modern organic farming technologies.

The provincial government has announced the creation of the breeding center as a source of breeding stocks to farmer-beneficiaries of the livelihood project.

It is pushing for the promotion of goat breeding as a household enterprise for additional income. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News)