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PILI, Camarines Sur -- The Department of Agriculture’s Regional Field Unit (DA-RFU) in Bicol is promoting among local farmers and livestock raisers the organic system of production through a training program being undertaken by its Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center (ATI-RTC).
ATI-RTC is an agency of the DA responsible for training agricultural extension workers and their clientele to promote and accelerate rural development, ensuring that research results are communicated to the farmers.
“We have been conducting training involving Bicolano livestock farmers in coordination with the provincial veterinary and agricultural offices of the six Bicol provinces so that the region is able to improve its livestock production using the natural way,” DA Regional Executive Director Jose Dayao said here over the weekend.
The training program, called Organic Livestock and Poultry Production and undertaken by the ATI-RTC, is teaching farmers how to raise livestock and poultry without using synthetic anti-biotics, vitamins, mineral, medicines and feeds and raising best quality animals, Dayao said.
Organically produced livestock, he said, are highly in demand in the local market even as these cost higher than those that are commercially-produced using artificial inputs.
Dayao said health conscious consumers, whose numbers have been steadily rising, prefer foods, especially pork and chicken that are raised naturally because these do not contain elements that are not good to human health.
The training introduces to farmers the importance of organic farming, new technologies on livestock and poultry production that are essential to more output and bigger income and marketing.
“We want to bring back the old way of agriculture that uses no chemicals that are hazardous to human health and destructive of the environment,” Dayao said.
He cited as example the practice developed by Arlene Dayo, a lady farmer from Goa, Camarines Sur whose successful venture into natural farming of hogs is worth emulating.
Dayo’s low-cost, no-odor hog raising project should inspire farmers who want to avoid expensive feed meals, the DA regional chief said.
Her pigpen is well ventilated, with one meter deep bedding backfilled with soil, salt, sawdust or coconut husk with beneficial microorganisms. The animals follow their instinct to root and dig, and they get the natural food, nutrient and minerals they need from the soil.
The beddings remain odor-and-housefly-free with once-a-week spray of Indigenous Microorganism (IM) concoction that Dayo herself and members of her household prepare.
Meats from the hogs she produces have a distinctly pleasing taste, good cooking consistency, and sell like hotcakes, even though these are sold at a higher price than conventional pork.
A visit to Dayo’s natural farming piggery would make one wonder that livestock could be grown in a clean, odor-free, environment-friendly way, Dayao stressed.