Valencia goes organic farming

VALENCIA CITY (MindaNews/1 July) – The City Government of Valencia is taking a new step in its campaign to convince farmers to go organic rice farming. Agriculture officials are dispersing ducks to rice farmers to develop organic rice farming and breed its duck meat industry at the same time, according to Gerson Salvan, city agriculture officer.

Salvan told MindaNews the project will support the city’s program on quality organic farming and at the same time teach farmers to raise ducks and process duck meat as a subsidiary industry.

The project involves integration of rice farming and duck raising, a cultivation scheme used with success in Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and China. Salvan said it is effective in eliminating insects and weeds. About 20-day old ducklings will be dispersed in the newly planted rice field.

The integration of rice cultivation and duck farming, Salvan said, enables poor farmers to obtain not only rice but also subsidiary products (duck meat and eggs) from the same piece of land.

The city agriculture office has requested the newly installed city council for the resolution to grant authority to Mayor Leandro Jose Catarata to release an initial P1-million fund to cover a hundred hectares of initial plots in the city’s irrigated areas.

Salvan said the money will be used largely to buy nets to prevent ducks from moving out of the plot and also protect them from predators.

Farmers who are into organic rice farming, he said, will be prioritized.

The scheme was reported to have reduced insect infestation and weed population.

Salvan said they will download the fund to the Philippine Agrarian Reform Foundation for National Development, Inc. (PARFUND), the group that will transfer the technology to the city.

He said aside from duck meat and rice, the scheme also opens more opportunities in duck egg hatchery and breeding, as well as raising kuhol (farm snail) to feed the ducks.

He assured that the veterinary and sanitary considerations will be taken care of by the city veterinarian’s office.

Salvan said they will start training in July and start dispersing in August. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)