Feature: Organic production, an environment friendly movement
Intensified mass campaign for five years now in Batanes is about going back to organic production. Ivatans take it as going back to basics: back to traditional production, and back to traditional preservation using satellite organic movement, referring to organic preservation by drying.
Ivatan organic farm production starts from the non-use of commercial fertilizer and non-use of sprays.
The Provincial Health Office, Department of Health, nutritionists and the provincial nutrition council advocate to the buying public to target leafy vegetables and cabbage that bear holes, signs that insects have been there, an indication that they are free from having been sprayed.
The public is reminded to wash these raw products well.
Upgraded vegetables grow faster and are saleable faster than the native variety. Pole sitaos, which grow as long as 1.5 ft, attracts buyers. In an interview with a pole sitao producer, she said makes her own compost pit as source of organic fertilizer. She said all degradable garbage at their household and fallen leaves in the farm are dumped into the compost pit. She makes four pits marked with different dates. After seven months these materials have already decomposed and are ready for use. In her plantation she uses yards of plastic net (resembling to mosquito net) to protect her fruiting pole sitao, ampalaya and cabbage.
Local government units (LGUs) advocate composting in backyards to reduce garbage collection. This is both beneficial to the families and the LGU. Families produce their own homemade fertilizers for their vegetable gardens, ornamental plants, potted plants or the adaptation of container gardening.
The LGUs also save fuel expenses in transporting tons of garbage to eco-centers whenever garbage have been reduced at household level.
Uyugan farmers load degradable garbage into sleds and take them to the farm to decompose. This is done when backyard has limited space to do a compost pit.
There are even some meticulous and industrious farmers who wrap growing fruiting eggplants to protect them from insects.
Pig and poultry raisers have lessened their dependence on commercial feeds except for the recommended period. Dr. Aurea Perez of PVETO said that commercial feeds for chickens may be given on its last three weeks to one month, and for pigs, during its first three months for the strong, healthy foundation of the livestock. Mixed feeds are recommended for later.
Some Ivatan families send to their children in Manila small boxes containing fresh organic vegetables, usually in small volumes. Three mothers said they send weekly, around three to four kilos each cargo so that the volume is consumable within the week.
Ivatans are generally used to organic production brought down by our ancestors, which benefit their health greatly. Three centenarian awardees who were interviewed confirmed that they had survived on organic food products since childhood. (NGA/PIA 2-Batanes)
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