GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The provincial government of South Cotabato is planning to open this year a laboratory that will cater to research and development initiatives on organic farming.
Dr. Raul Teves, head of the South Cotabato Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (Opag), said Friday the preparations are underway for the establishment of the laboratory as part of the continuing expansion of the province’s organic agriculture program.
He said they will mainly utilize the facility to advance their ongoing efforts to develop and produce various organic farm inputs.
These include organic insecticides and concoctions using locally available resources that could be used as fertilizers, he said.
“Hopefully, we can start the production this year and give them to our farmers,” Teves told reporters.
The official said the project will be funded by the province’s organic agriculture program, which has an annual budget of PHP5 million as provided for in Ordinance No. 26 or the Organic Agriculture Ordinance.
He said Opag, in coordination with the city and municipal agriculture offices, has been continually supporting farmers who have shifted to organic farming by providing them with various incentives.
Teves said they have assigned personnel to provide technical assistance and other related support to farmer-adopters.
Opag has distributed modules for organic free-range chicken production and organic goat production to selected farmers under its Organic Livelihood Assistance Program.
The initiative seeks to encourage more local farmers to adopt and practice organic farming and advocate safer and more cost-effective food production systems.
Organic farmers-adopters in the province receive cash incentives as high as PHP10 a kilo from local government units for their produce. (PNA)