By Niño Manaog
University Extension Associate
Capiz State University
To launch the Dao Organic Agriculture Program (DOAP) and upcoming projects on organic agriculture in their municipality, the Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center based in Dao, Capiz hosted a Seminar on Mitigating Climate Change Impact in agriculture through Organic And Natural Farming Technology System at Lolet’s Eco Park in barangay Duyoc, Dao, Capiz on March 16, 2011.
Some 80 participants—including 20 barangay captains and chairpersons of their respective committees on agriculture, employees and heads of LGU offices and other government agencies like agriculture, interior and local government, social welfare and development, health and Education—attended the series of lecture inputs from agriculture and technology experts.
FITS Manager Susan Dordas presented a comprehensive report on the global impact of climate change and instances of natural disasters worldwide. Dordas also discussed the causes and effects of climate change and their impact on the agriculture industry. According to Dordas, it is important to note that the agriculture industry contributes to the huge amounts of methane and nitrous oxide which rather deplete the earth’s ozone layer, which even contributed to the current global warming phenomenon.
For his part, Dr. Hector Peñaranda, officer-in-charge of the Special Concerns and Institutional Development Unit of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 6, shared to the audience a number of mitigating and adoptive measures done by farmers across the country in response to climate change. More important, Peñaranda briefed the participants on Republic Act 10068, otherwise known as the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, the government’s lead program to help alleviate the environmental crisis.
Technology Services Specialist Genes Estialbo of FITS Dao and Techno Gabay Team Leader Eduardo Navarra of the Capiz State University promoted the benefits of organic farming and the use of effective microorganisms-based fertilizers and pesticides as component for a productive and sustainable farming. Agricultural Technologist Eliza Ledesma also promoted the Food Always in the Home (FAITH) Garden as a household food security mechanism. Widely advocating the benefits of the natural farming technology system, the said extension workers urged the Daonons to work harder in their farms and also advocated the natural farming systems (NFS) practices of Ramon Peñalosa, Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium. Peñalosa practices NFS in his Manapla and Victorias City farms in Negros Occidental.
Among others, Dennis Escutin, 31-year old technology and livelihood education teacher at the Dao National High School, said the forum made him better understand vital agricultural practices particularly on the use and effectiveness of indigenous microorganisms (IMO) as vital components for good farming. “Damo na ang akon nga resources kag materials nga puwedeng ipanghatag sa mga estudyante” (I now have more materials and resources to give to students), said Escutin, who is also adviser of high school students on their school-based agri projects.
According to Dordas, proponent of the DOAP, they have lined up more activities this year to further institutionalize and fully implement organic agriculture in their locality. The initiative was largely supported by the local government of Dao led by Mayor Joselito Escutin and Vice Mayor Loreto Eslaban. The Capiz State University, partner member agency under the banner of WESVARRDEC, covered the event.