MANILA, Philippines — The country must boost the production of organic fertilizers to reduce farmers’ dependence on expensive imported fertilizers while helping increase yield and income in agriculture, Sen. Cynthia Villar said yesterday.
Villar, who chairs the Senate committee on agriculture and food, urged farmers and stakeholders to ramp up composting and production of other organic fertilizers, saying healthy soil reaps long-term benefits.
Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) administrator Wilfredo Roldan also urged farmers to produce more local fertilizers, especially organic, amid the rising global prices.
Villar expressed support for calls from local farmers to reduce the country’s reliance on imported fertilizers, whose prices have been increasing, by raising local production.
She cited the need to protect the soil from deterioration and degradation to ensure agricultural growth as well as food sustainability.
She said healthy soil is crucial to food security as about 95 percent of food consumed is directly or indirectly produced from the soil.
“Because of this, soil health is important for agricultural productivity, which in turn will affect food security. The solution is as simple as putting nutrients back to the soil through composting and going organic,” Villar said.
The senator has pushed for legislation that provides for soil protection through sustainable and organic means.
She has also established and supported projects and programs in numerous communities all over the country to promote proper waste management, particularly involving kitchen and garden wastes as well as those that can be turned into compost or organic fertilizer.
Villar likewise asked the Bureau of Soils and Water Management to give composting facilities for biodegradable waste machines to local government units and farmers’ groups so they can make their own fertilizers through composting.
Meanwhile, an agriculture organization and a party-list group are urging the Senate to investigate claims of fertilizer dealers in the Ilocos region that they have not been paid by the Department of Agriculture (DA) P100 million for fertilizers that have been distributed to farmer-beneficiaries.
In a statement yesterday, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) and the Abono party-list have written the office of Villar for a legislative inquiry on the alleged failure of the DA to pay fertilizer dealers who participated in its fertilizer subsidy program.
“Some dealers can no longer serve the farmers because they have yet to receive payment from the DA. Where will the farmers turn to for their fertilizer needs?” Rosendo So, SINAG president and Abono party-list chairman, said. – Catherine TalaveraInternet Explorer Channel Network