I took notice of the bright prospects of organic agriculture that if tapped by the government for revenue generation would spell economic salvation for many Filipinos, particularly the farmers.
I said this having been part of the documentation team for the terminal report validation workshop for the Philippine Development Assistance Program (PDAP) with its “Promoting Rural Industries and Market Enhancement (PRIME)” project, partnered by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) held not so long ago at the Waterfront Hotel.
As part of our job we took a quick look at the Sultan Kudarat Muscovado Farmers Cooperative known for its muscovado organic sugar. The coop started production on a 150-hectare cultivation area with a starting capital of only P 750,000.
Today, its output could hardly cope up with the increasing global demand for muscovado sugar.
In a short span of time, the coop has grown bigger, its plantation expanded to 1,750 hectares. The venture is now raking in multi-million-peso profits. The coop did it without having to incur loans.
`Price factor cannot be gainsaid. A moscuvado sugar as early as 2007 was tagged at a farmer’s price of P30 per kilo from P14 per kilo in 2004 but if sold in a foreign market, particularly in Europe, it would sell as much as P250 a kilo.
Organic agriculture has been instittutionalized in Davao City, in City Ordinance No. 0384-10 or the Organic Agriculture Ordinance of Davao City with its IRR recently approved by Mayor Sara Duterte.
A provision in particular is attention-drawing: A “substantial budget” for its implementation has been set aside, without mention of the amount that we presume should be enormous.
I am not farm-savvy, but organic agriculture in the city has a future. Do we see “urbanized” organic agriculture– traditional farms transformed into organic farms in 3 to 5 years?
Davao city’s agricultural land is about 100,000 hectares, nearly half of its total land area. Many of these lands are just in the periphery of the urban centers.
We are typhoon-free with a tropical weather that makes agriculture tickle our imagination.
With land conversion and farm shifting from rice to banana, rice shortage hugged the headlines in the past.
Organic rice is a rare commodity for locals because they are exported and has become expensive.
Why do foreigners prefer organic rice? For dietary reasons and health benefits. I remember a farmer in that meeting at Waterfront Hotel who said he and his family would never eat organic rice from their yields because of its high cost. He would rather sell it and then buy NFA rice.
Growing organic muscovado sugar in Sultan Kudarat not only is profitable but also has become almost craze among farmers there.
With Davao City having enough lands for agriculture, why can’t Dabawenyos go into “urbanized” farming and becme crazy over planting organic rice?