SAN LUIS, BATANGAS—From a two thousand four hundred square meter-land area, Mr. Eduardo Villanueva of Brgy. Balagtasin, a recipient of the Gulayan sa Barangay Project of the Provincial Agriculturist Office, in collaboration with the Municipal Agriculturist Office, began harvesting baskets of high value vegetables adopting the concept of organic farming on April 11, 2017.

Mr. Villanueva is a 63-year old farmer who ventured in farming to raise his three children. Now that his family gets bigger with the addition of his three grandchildren, he never contemplates to veer towards another job and still opts to farming in order to sustain their needs and necessities. “Siyempre, nagpapasalamat ako sa OPA, saka sa Agriculture Office at siyempre sa ating butihing Mayor Sam Ocampo ‘pagkat napili akong recipient ng proyektong ito. Sa edad kong ito, di ko akalaing mabibigyan ako ng ganitong pagkakataon. Malaking katulungan ito para sa aming pamilya. Ang pinaka puhunan lang namin ay aming pagtratrabaho kasi libre nga lahat.” said Mr. Villanueva.

The shift from conventional farming to organic farming seems to be a crucial dilemma of the PAO and MAO since farmers are used to apply agrochemicals in the field without even realizing its impact to the environment and human health. Mr. Rinkoh P. Hernandez, Municipal Agriculturist of San Luis, explained that during the Green Revolution in the 1960s, there was an increase in agricultural production because of the advent of high-yielding varieties, thereby leading to the vicious utilization of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. “Noong time kasing yun, people suffered from starvation so para ma-save sila sa hunger they augmented crop production kaya naman until now dala-dala ng mga farmers yung ganoong gawain. Hindi naman bago ang konsepto ng organic farming. Matagal na iyan. Ibinabalik na lang kasi nga yung conventional farming ay may sobrang laking impact sa Climate Change tsaka nagiging acidic na ang soil tapos threat pa sa human health.” he added.

The Gulayan sa Barangay Project aims not only to help farmers financially but also to educate them about sustainable crop production in the absence of agrochemicals. The PAO and MAO admit that the project is not yet organically certified because the shift takes time. “Sa organic kasi, you cannot expect high yield but you can expect safe and quality produce. Challenge para sa aming mga Extension Managers na magturo at mag-encourage.” Municipal Agriculturist expounded.

Mr. Villanueva, still earning from his intercrop, is very much grateful for the opportunity and believes that later on other farmers would embrace organic farming as well.