Greening Communities through Organic Vegetable Production

Fully engaged during the hands-on production of organic concoctions, the training participants were discouraged to use the traditional way of managing pests and diseases such as the application of harmful pesticides. Organic vegetable farming relies on on-farm available materials and inputs to ensure safe food production and assure the safety of the environment. Photo provided by: Javier P. Andalan, Agriculturist II.

ATI-RTC X Compound, El Salvador City---In the continuous move in keeping up the production of urban-grown food, the Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center X (ATI-RTC X) recognizes the role of farmers and farmer leaders as essential in maintaining sustainability in terms of food production and healthy environment.

Just recently, a training on Organic Vegetable Production with emphasis on OA Production Technologies was conducted by Organic Agriculture Program point person Javier P. Andalan. It offered new paradigm shift in agriculture as a mode of alternative productivity like organic or natural farming methods and practices.

The said training in coordination with the City Agriculture Office of El Salvador headed by City Agriculturist Nolly Adrian Gabule saw an opportunity for vegetable producers in Misamis Oriental to re-acquaint them on natural and organic farming and basic gardening. The production technology is feasible in their respective locality considering the abundant domestic biodegradable materials that are just thrown as waste.

“When we talk about learnings, I had learned so much. As an agriculture student, I enjoy the three days training with which I will share the things I learned here to my parents. From discussing RA 10068 Organic Agricultural act, square foot gardening method, organic urban gardening to food safety and producing organic concoction; these are powerful tools to all who really loves venturing on organic agriculture. As we face this pandemic, teaching everyone the importance of planting and living is very relevant. As we go along this journey I am sure that we will bring this knowledge we gain to our community and to the next generation”, said training participant Joebert D. Apdian during the sharing of learning and impressions.

Topics include Square Foot Gardening, Economics in Square Foot Gardening, Hands On – Square foot Gardening by square foot garden authority Mr. Honorio S. Cervantes. Organic Urban/Backyard Gardening, Container Gardening, Economics in Container Gardening, Hands On – Container Gardening by Junah S. Bayag of Jaya Secret Garden and Organic Fertilizer Production: Carbon Nitrogen Ratio, Organic Pesticide Production, Produce Organic Concoctions and Food Safety by Organic Agriculture Point Person Javier P. Andalan. The said training also taught the participants to shift from using commercial fertilizers to farming producing their own homemade but effective source of fertilizers.

Furthermore, the training enabled its 16 participants to set up a square foot and container garden, prepare concoctions using locally available materials, apply cultural practices in the production of organic vegetables, and practice/follow the Philippine National Standard (PNS) on Organic Agriculture for product integrity and for third party certification.

“We strive to extend our services here in El Salvador because we have already reached out to other municipalities and even scaled mountains and remote locations to give trainings and extension services. For this particular training, this is for El Salvador. I am happy to hear your impressions specially the ones coming from our student participants because I saw a number of young farmers in here. Since we believe that learning is a continuous process, our trainings serve its purpose of educating and empowering our farmers specially the younger generation. We strive to reach out to more of our clients and encourage them to plant and engage in farming. Also, first time gyud nako madungog nga i-share sa participant ang iyang nakat-unan sa iyang ginikanan (Also, this is my first time to hear a participant expressed his intention to share his learning to his parents)”, Center Director Maria Lydia A. Echavez said in her closing message as she lauded the impression delivered by participant Joebert D. Apdian.

The training which transpired on September 2 to 4, 2020 was mounted in support to the “Ahon Lahat, Pagkain Sapat Kontra sa Covid 19 or ALPAS COVID 19” and the “Plant, Plant, Plant Program” of the Department of Agriculture (DA). Aside from knowledge & skills, after training extension support was provided by the center in support to the memorandum from the office of the Department of Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar refocusing programs and activities to sustain food security in the country amid covid-19. (with additional reports provided by: Javier P. Andalan, Agriculturist-II)