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Organic Farming as Soil Quality Management and Enhancement: An Adaption Strategy to Climate Chance and Variability

 

A field study was conducted to document the indigenous knowledge, and the perceptions and attitudes of farmers towards organic farming as strategy on soil quality management in Cagayan Valley, and examine the carbon sequestration potentials of the soils under different cropping systems. It was intended to understand farmer’s knowledge of soil quality management to ensure transfer of appropriate technology, and to guide decision makers in the formulation or policy in promoting organic farming as strategy to improve farm productivity to ensure food security and cleaner environment. The methodology employed includes physical and questionnaire surveys that consisted of open-ended and close-ended questions addressing the indigenous farm management skills and organic farming practices of farmers, and soil sampling to pre-identified soil series.

The farmers have developed certain indigenous knowledge in assessing their fields using soil quality indicators such as crop performance and yield, and soil color and used to established soil categories (fertile soil, moderate soil and poor soil). Farmers developed over the years of their farming experiences their own soil management practices which are not far from scientific practices. There are indigenous practices representing successful ways by which farmers have dealt with poor soil quality. These practices vary from farmers to farmers, farming system to farming system, from field to field and even within fields depending on their accessibility and availability of resources. Farmers’ portfolio of soil management practices ranged from indigenous (fallow) to adaptive (chemical fertilizer application) strategies. Results such as theses showed the ingenuity of the farmers in using indigenous knowledge and practices in the enhancement of the quality of their farms and incorporating it with modern technologies considering its effect on soil and plant.

Out of the 1,066 farmer-respondent, only 21.5 percent are adopters or the organic farming by the farmers. Farmers are familiar on bio-organic fertilizer farm inputs, and organic fertilizer application, animal manure, compost fertilizer and the practice of crop rotation as organic farming practices. Farmers’ knowledge of the benefits is limited on improvement of soil fertility, benefit to the environment, reduction of production cost and its benefits to beneficial insects. Difficulty of sourcing animal manure, slow effect of organic fertilizer and the cost of organic fertilizer are among the problems encountered by the majority of farmers and even the organic farming practitioners. Policy recommendations emanating from the study are active involvement of youths and women in organic crop production, improvement of information sources on organic farming and enlightenments on various organic methods of weed, pest and disease control through the regular sources of information on organic farming.

Soil analysis revealed that soil reaction ranged from very strongly acidic (pH 4.5) to slightly alkaline (pH 7.4). nitrogen  in soils is very ow (0.4 to 3.4 g.kg), available P varied from very low to high (0.70 to 30.50 mg kg-1) and available K to from very low to very high (0.0-1.27 cmol kg-1). The crops currently grown are classified as suitable which almost matched with the technical crop-soil suitability analysis. Soil organic matter and organic carbon contents (20 cm) are moderate with average values of 2.72% and 39.05 Mg ha-1), respectively. SOM and SOC in

upland is higher than in lowland soils attributed to differences in soils types, cropping system and agricultural management practices. The significant in soil types, cropping system and agricultural practices. The significant amount of CO2 sequestered in upland (150 Mg C)2 ha-1) and lowland soils of CO2 and varies due to the difference in cropping systems. The result proves that diversifying cropping systems is one option for improving soil’s potential for CO2 sequestration.


Keywords: carbon sequestration, indigenous knowledge, land evaluation, organic farming, soil        quality, suitability analysis