SouthCot launches assistance program for organic farming

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/03 November) — The provincial government of South Cotabato has launched a livelihood program to assist farmers who would want to venture into organic agriculture.

Shiela Lastimoso, organic agriculture program staff of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAG), said Friday the initiative is part of the local government’s efforts to encourage more farmers to adopt and practice organic farming.

She said an initial P650,000 was allotted by the provincial government for the implementation of livelihood projects for organic farming practitioners within the province’s 10 towns and lone city.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan or provincial board recently endorsed the funding based on a proposal submitted by the OPAG, she said.

“Organic farming practitioners within the province may now avail of the program, provided they can submit viable project proposals,” Lastimoso said.

She said farmers may propose funding for a range of projects, among them organic livestock production.

Interested farmers could opt for specific ventures like free-range chicken raising or goat raising, she said.

Lastimoso said the livelihood program is a component of the provincial government’s Organic Agriculture Program, which has a funding of P5 million under the annual budget.

Such funding was provided for in Ordinance No. 26 or the Organic Agriculture Ordinance of South Cotabato.

She said the fund aims to encourage more local farmers to practice organic farming and advocate safer and more cost-effective farming.

Aside from the livelihood program, Lastimoso said the local government, through the OPAG, provides assistance to organic farmers in the form of organic inputs and trainings on related farming technologies.

She said organic farming practitioners may avail of these services at the local government-owned Provincial Scion Grove and Demonstration Farm located in Banga town. (MindaNews)