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The Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 08, through its Organic Agriculture Program (OAP), has launched today March 23, 2017 four (4) Botanical Concoction Facilities at Barangays Talustusan, Capiñahan, Villa Caneja and Lucso-on, all in the municipality of Naval, Biliran.

These facilities, worth ₱250,000.00 each, will be complemented by a nursery from the DA- 8’s High Value Commercial Crops Program. Dr. Carlos de la Cruz, Chief of DA-8’s OAP said: “This is just a partial number of the botanical concoction facilities planned throughout the region; we have actually 11 in the pipeline for this year, based on the Letter of Intent submitted by the local government units since 2016.”

Examples of botanicals to be produced in these facilities are Indigenous Microorganism

(1MO); Fish Amino Acid (FAA); Fermented Fruit Juice (FFJ); Fermented Plant Juice; Oriental Herbal Nutrient (OHN); Lactic Acid Serum (LAS); Indigenous Calcium (IC) and EM Insect Repellant Mix.

These concoctions utilize naturally growing plants or minerals derived from the

environment, plant or animal wastes and residues with natural organisms, without relying on commercial or synthetic chemicals and fertilizers, to fight agricultural pests and diseases and to reduce the losses caused by them.

The local government unit of Naval, Biliran has supported farmers to gradually adapt natural farming practices. In the past 2 years. Mayor Susan V. Parilla has subsidized farmer associations with vermicast, bought by the LGU, and distributed to those who have availed of rice seeds from the Department of Agriculture.

This complementation scheme augurs well for the future of these facilities managed by the four barangay-based associations.

As Dr. de la Cruz stressed: “By putting these up right in their barangays, it is expected that

there will be no more contamination in the botanical concoctions they are able to formulate, and gradually, they will start to comply with the provisions of the Philippine National Standards (PNS). Later on, when they already start mass production of these concoctions,

these can become an additional income for them; they themselves are the ones to push for the advocacy of natural farming systems to their fellow farmers in the municipality and in the other municipalities in the province.”

Meanwhile, the DA-RFO 8 will also be turning over to the Ormoc City local government unit

on March 27, 2017 one unit brown rice mill worth more than ₱400,000.00, a rice reaper and 1 unit concoction laboratory. The recipient of these projects is the Ormoc Seed Producers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ORSEPRO-MPC). This is to further strengthen its interest to be known as the region’s “organic city’. Later this year, they will host the Regional Organic Agriculture Congress.

By Ms. Maria Christina E. Colasito