Although the project was supposed to be implemented for a year it was extended for another five months because there were funds available for its extension. Two farm sites were selected to become the Organic Seed Production System areas of BPI La Granja National Crop Research and Development. Site 1 (6.29) hectares is located at the BPI Jalandoni Production Area. Pre-inspection and inspection of the two sites have been done by OCCP. BPI La Granja is optimistic that its two organic sites will become organic certified soon.
The project consists of five components: Component 1. Conversion and Development of BPI La Granja NCRDC Selected Areas for Organic Seed Production; Component 2. Development of Package of Technologies for Organic Seed Production of Selected Upland Crops (peanuts); Component 3. Upgrading of Support Facilities to Sustain Organic Seed Production; Component 4. Establishment and Maintenance of Organic Garden for Herbs and Spices; and Component 5. Production of Organic Seeds/Seedpieces of Corn, Peanut and Cassava and Other Crops.
For component 1, two organic sites were developed following the different organic agriculture practices such as green manuring, liming, establishment of buffer zone and hedgerows, application of organic fertilizer, crop rotation, improvement of drainage and not to mention, the water system.
A research component which deals with the development of package of organic seed production technology for peanut with solid organic fertilizers such as commercial organic fertilizer, vermicast and decomposed carabao manure in combination with naturally fermented solutions (NFS) such as fermented malunggay, fermented saluyot, fermented bamboo shoot and fermented kulitis were explored. However, only two cropping season trials were implemented due to limited time time allowed for the project implementation. A year is needed to complete the requirements for this research endeavor. Based on the results of the one year trial, different solid organic fertilizers (SOF) and spraying of natural-fermented solutions (NFS) significantly affected the yield performance of peanuts during the wet and dry seasons. Decomposed carabao manure (DCM) at 5.0 t/ha produced the most number of pods per plant, the heaviest 100-seeds and the highest dry pod yield in both wet and dry trials. On the other hand, vermicompost application at 3.0 t/ha obtained the highest shelling percentage in peanut variety NSIC Pn 13, although comparable with that of DCM in the dry season. NFS such as fermented bamboo shoot, fermented kulitis and fermented saluyot. Kulitis and malunggay gave better yield performances on peanuts during the dry season. Return of investment among treatments vary from 31.59% to 141.27%.
Upgrading of support facilities to sustain organic seed production was also implemented. The vermicomposting facility was expanded from 3 beds and 9 beds resulting to increase of production of vermicast totaling to 13.389 tons just for the first seven months of 2013. Utilization of the vermicast was mostly for the implementation of the organic seed production of the center.
Another facility rehabilitated was the Trichogramma production lab resulting to the production of 3,555 strips for the first semester of 2013 (Table 3.2.1). These were used in the different projects of the center and at the same time shared to interested farmer-clientele. Moreover, assassin bug production was intensified to address the crop protection of legume and vegetable seed production projects. In addition, Naturally Fermented Solutions (NFS) Production Lab was established in support to the organic program of BPI La Granja. Different NFS were produced which have different uses. These include indigenous microorganism (IMO), fermented plant juice (FPJ), fermented fruit juice (FFJ), oriental herbal nutrient (OHN), calcium nutrient (CN), kuhol amino acid (KAA), natural attractant (NA), agro-bacterial concoction (ABC), effective microorganism activated solution (EMAS), and EM-5 plus. NFS produced a total of 230 liters for the six months of 2013; while distribution reached 154.93 liters.
The repair of the domestic water system and water tank was also done. Moreover, a water settling tank was established in Site 1. Three sets of desktop computers, a digital camera, knapsack sprayers and brush cutter were procured which are now very useful in the Research and Development activities of the center.
Organic garden for herbs and spices was established consisting of 31 herb accessions and 7 spice accesions. From 2012 to 2013, a total of 2,172 planting materials of herb were propagated from which 464 were distributed to 129 interested clientele. In addition, 428 pieces of spice planting materials were propagated while distribution was 23 pieces.
While the organic farm sites of BPI La Granja is still in conversion, organically grown crop seeds totaled 3,829 kg with distribution reaching 2,437 kg serving 87 clientele and beneficiaries. In addition, 79,810 seedpieces of rootcrops consisting of cassava and sweet potato were produced and distributed; 50,000 pieces for Ilocos region and 18,000 pieces for the province of Cavite.
Public-Private Partnership (PPP) was initiated with the Ecological and Agricultural Development Foundation, Inc. (EADFI), a non-government organization that advocates organic agriculture. The objective of the partnership is to showcase the planting of soybean, mungbean, peanut and corn under organic conditions.
Moreover, though not any more covered by the duration of the project, BPI La Granja conducted a Field Day on July 24, 2013 with the theme: Magbalik sa Sina-una, Mag Organik Kita” (Let’s Go Back to the Basics, Practice Organic Agriculture). The one day activity was participated by 230 organic farmers, enthusiasts, extension workers, researchers, students, LGU officials and members of the BPI Management Committee. Participants were treated a tour to the different organic projects, a delicious snack of boiled glutinous corn, cassava, saba, camote, suman and salabat (all the center’s products) in every field tour station. Every participant was given hats, bags, Bangkok santol and rambutan fruits with seeds, cassava, sweet potato cuttings, vermicast and IEC materials. A short program followed the field tour, after which, a picnic lunch of chicken inasal, jackfruit insalada and papaya pickle at the center’s plant nursery ended the morning activity. In the afternoon, a cooking contest using indigenous ingredients was conducted for grades 5 and 6 pupils. Likewise, an organic on-the-spot painting contest for high school students using natural and locally available materials was done simultaneously with the morning field tour. The whole day activity was blessed with good weather conditions that allowed every participant to have a firsthand experience in viewing and appreciating the different organic projects in the center.
The promotion of organic agriculture is now one of the major programs being implemented by the Bureau of Plant Industry and the La Granja National Crop Research and Development Center. It covers research on station, on-farm at selected farmers’ field. Likewise, Public-Private Partnership in terms of organic seed production is also implemented with three organic farmers located in Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. It aims to develop these farmer-partners to become accredited organic seed growers of upland crops particularly legumes and corn.
As to the question if the organic agriculture program made a dent in the Visayas, the answer is affirmative considering that many farmers are now into organic food production although government support in terms of producing high quality organic crop seeds is still needed.