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Helping build communities via organic farming

By Elaine Ramos Alanguilan | Feb. 16, 2013 at 06:01pm
Fertilizing vegetables the organic way

ORGANIC farming has been identified as a strategy to help in the rehabilitation of the Marikina Watershed.

This is why the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF) and Smart Communications Inc. have organized a comprehensive course on integrated natural farming, part of a series of training programs on livelihood conducted since last year for communities within the Marikina Watershed.

PDRF and Smart are proponents of the Marikina Watershed Initiative, which calls for the protection, reforestation and rehabilitation of the river basin that mitigates flooding in Metro Manila and outlying areas.

“The Marikina Watershed Initiative is more than just planting trees to save the watershed. A crucial component of this initiative is addressing the problem on poverty that hounds upland communities within the watershed,” said Smart department head for community partnerships Darwin Flores.

“If we train them on alternative means of livelihood such as organic farming and bamboo construction, we help save the trees within the watershed that are cut down by the residents for charcoal making,” added Flores.

In training

The Costales family conducted the seminar and internship program

The Costales family, which owns the Costales Nature Farms of Majayjay in Laguna, was tapped to conduct the seminar and internship program. The Costales farm is accredited by the Agriculture Department as a training institute for organic farming.

The seminar aims to equip the participants with the necessary skills and techniques in starting or expanding an integrated organic farm. The seminar is divided into two phases—lecture and actual implementation for better appreciation and guaranteed learning.

Some 25 key leaders from among the supported Peoples’ Organizations in the Marikina Watershed participated in the training program on Integrated Natural Farming and Effective Microorganisms Technology Workshop that was held in December last year.

This training was followed by a six-day Internship Program on Natural and Organic Farming, which aims to develop the participant’s confidence, technical and management skills that are necessary in activating, supervising and managing an organic farm.

The participants were taught about natural farming

The week-long internship program will transfer more learning and technology to the attendees regarding organic and natural farming, and is seen to set the Demo Farm Project in motion. Another long-time partner of Smart, the Philippine Business for Social Progress, will help set up the demo farm in the watershed.

The project orientation of the Demo Farm Building and Organic Farming was held last Jan. 29.

Smart has been supporting livelihood and community building initiatives through its Kabalikat program.
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