ASEAN farmers learn to adopt organic farming

31 March 2019
By Philippine Rice Research Institute

More and more ASEAN farmers have realized the sustainable benefits of organic farming—reduced expenses, higher yields, increased income, and safer and healthier food for the community. Let’s hear from Dewey, Moses, and Renato, organic farmers from the Philippines, on why and how they adopted the organic agriculture farming system1.

Involving farmers as the ultimate beneficiaries of organic agriculture farming system is not only seen as an attempt to bridge theory and practice, but also to get them engaged and invested in the initiative.

The training on organic farming technologies received by Dewey, Moses, and Renato was part of the project “Capacity Enhancement in Rice Production in Southeast Asia under Organic Agriculture Farming System.” Through the project, ASEAN farmers enhance their knowledge and skills on how to produce good and sustainable yields under low input system, use raw materials or wastes and convert them into useful products for their farms, and develop integrated organic farming technologies adapted to country local conditions. In addition, the project undertook a collaborative and multi-stakeholder research experiment. The experiment resulted to the testing of 40 different rice varieties (bred under inorganic system) using organic farming technology, which then led to the identification of the best 10 and top 5 high-yielding and location-specific rice varieties for adoption by small farmer communities in the respective ASEAN Member States.

“Capacity Enhancement in Rice Production in Southeast Asia under Organic Agriculture Farming System” was implemented from 2015-2017 by the Philippine Rice Research Institute in partnership with key rice scientists and research institutes from ASEAN Member States and with support from the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF).

1 Organic agriculture includes all agricultural systems that promote the ecologically sound, socially acceptable, economically viable and technically feasible production of food and fibers. Organic agricultural dramatically reduces external inputs by refraining from the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. It also covers areas such as, but not limited to, soil fertility management, varietal breeding and selection under chemical and pesticide-free conditions, the use of biotechnology and other cultural practices that are consistent with the principles and policies of this Act, and enhance productivity without destroying the soil and harming farmers, consumers and the environment as defined by the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movement (IFOAM): Provided, That the biotechnology herein to shall not include genetically modified organisms or GMOs. (Section 3b, Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, Philippines)