March 30, 2023

Organic farmers in Kapangan, Benguet have ventured into producing leafy vegetables, bell pepper, root crops, and strawberry as part of the town’s sustained program on organic agriculture.
“We are starting to strengthen organic farming since the farmers here know the effect of too much use of fertilizers in their farms,” Mayor Manny Fermin said.
Fermin added organic practitioners will also plant fruit-bearing trees in the future, which is also part of the town’s efforts to help mitigate the effects of climate change.
Through the Kapangan Boer’s Association, the organic products of the town are marketed at SM City Baguio and other local markets.
Last year, 50 farmers graduated from the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan on Sustainable Agriculture Program (KSK-SAP), which is in partnership with SM Foundation Inc., SM Supermalls, SM markets, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Agriculture-Cordillera, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Information Agency, St. Isidore The Farmer Learning Center Inc., and the provincial and municipal governments.
KSK-SAP aims for agriculture sustainability and food security aside from the creation of opportunities, skills or education enhancement, livelihood and employment to enhance and empower underprivileged farmers.
Fermin said the farmers were trained for six weeks on backyard planting and small-scale farming techniques for fruits and vegetables to help improve and increase their harvest.
He said 80 percent of the town’s population is engaged in farming that is why the municipality is strengthening its agriculture programs in partnership with various agencies.
With the Tesda provincial training center soon to be constructed in Kapangan, Fermin said the Tesda’s organic agriculture course will be sustained with 25 farmers currently enrolled in the program.
He said the municipal council passed an ordinance giving incentives to farmers who will engage in organic farming.
“That’s what we will implement to encourage our farmers not to go into conventional farming but shift to organic. The incentive is not that huge but hopefully enough to help our farmers jumpstart their livelihood projects,” he said.
With the pandemic, Fermin said they are hoping to allot funds for the organic farming’s implementation from the town’s supplemental budget, as its current budget is dedicated to the Covid-19 response. – Ofelia C. Empian