Today’s article is a guest post written by Sue Leverson
How To Start Organic Farming In The Philippines: Have you ever wondered how to start an organic farm business in the Philippines? Organic farming is on the rise, and starting an organic farm in the Philippines requires careful consideration and investigation of the agricultural industry.
In today’s article, we will be breaking down the process of starting an organic farming business in the Philippines, exploring some important areas that you will need to know if you are considering this business, and looking at the costs of starting an organic business in the Philippines.
Introduction In To Organic Farming in the Philippines
It may sound cliché to say that the agricultural sector is the lifeblood that sustains the growth of the economic development of every country; however, the glaring reality is that it is the sector that is frequently being overlooked and underestimated. The lack of technical “know-how” may also be seen for not fully utilizing the yielding potential of the agricultural sector.
The positive action taken by the government in passing the “Organic Agriculture Act of 2010″ known as the RA 10068, had accelerated the improvement in the agricultural sector, specifically on the yield in comparison to the age-old practice of “chemical agriculture.”
The focal benefit that may be derived from organic agriculture is the assurance of food sustainability not only of the present generation but also of intergenerational.
Sustainability is the crux of adopting organic agriculture. This would optimize the production without necessarily depleting the Earth’s natural resources and without emitting toxic chemicals that may be harmful to the ecosystem.
However, it will be doing injustice when one is making a comparison between conventional farming to organic farming. But in the holistic perspective, organic farming may be seen to have a positive impact on the financial, ecological as well as social aspects of the country.
Therefore, you may opt to visit Nast.ph to deepen your knowledge on the sustainability of organic farming.
How to Start Organic Farming in the Philippines
The growing trend towards organic farming has led many farmers to adopt this system, but the basic question is how to start organic farming. The concept of “organic farming” is novel in that there is a need for one to grasp the technical know-how to implement this system properly.
Let us further delve into how to start organic farming, especially in the Philippines. The following are the salient facts that you must know on how you can start your organic farming;
1. Getting into the basics of organic farming In The Philippines
Learning the basics is the key to fully comprehending what organic farming is all about. The Philippines once had the lead in producing agricultural products in Asia, and from that, we can glean that our farmers had that expertise in farming.
Get acquainted with farmers who are already into organic farming and try to learn from them. Their success story in fully implementing the system would make it easier for you to extract the technical knowledge and apply the same in your farming.
Fully equip yourself with the necessary knowledge by attending different symposiums and training programs. Amazingly the internet (and even YouTube) may also be a fertile source of ideas, information, and knowledge to adopt organic farming effectively.
Everything is just a matter of a click, and all the information you need can be found. But if you want to be coached by professional organic farmers, you may want to read https://www.agrea.ph/farm-school/enrolment-now-open-agrea-farm-school-2019-admission.
2. The Farms Location Is Crucial
Organic farming may be the recent craze in the sector of agriculture, but before venturing into this system, there are things that you must be considered, one of which is the location.
Not all soil. The agricultural lot is conducive to organic farming. Therefore, it is a must that one must study the farm’s location whether it is ideal for organic farming. To make the farm suited for organic farming, it must have a good source of water supply or the appropriate irrigation system.
The water source must not be polluted not to compromise the yield of production and the consumers’ health.
Often, problems arise when it comes after harvesting the product for the farm is difficult to market. In other words, the agricultural products must reach the market without being spoiled. The access to the farm-to-market road would spell out the difference between success and failure in organic farming. The longer the farm location to the market, the higher cost for transportation will likely be.
The type of soil of the farm may not be that crucial because even if the soil may be salty or sandy, it can still yield a high-value crop, such as the soil of AGREA farm. With adequate land preparation, the soil of AGREA farm had transformed the salty and sandy soil into fertile soil.
3. Match Your New Land To The Type Of Crop you wish to grow
The Philippines has fertile soil and land; however, it could not fully optimize its yield for the simple reason that frequently farmers do not assess the type of land or soil that would perfectly match their crops. Therefore, how to start organic farming in the Philippines would mean that one must appropriately assess the type of soil, landscape, elevation, and temperature.
Organic farming is a challenge, especially for a new farmer venturing into this system, if there are instances that the crop or the animals may not be “local” to the area. The crop and animals for organic farming must be suitable to the farm’s temperature and condition. You may always consider that not all crops are not compatible with the type of soil and environmental factors of the area.
If you live in a city or urban place with tight spaces but still opt to engage in organic farming, you may still indulge in it by resorting to container farming or vertical gardening. If you wish to start a farming business in the Philippines, these are great options, but research and weighing up the pros and cons are essential.
4. The Agricultural Product Must Meet The Needs Of The Consumers
Producing a product that is not in need by the consumers would lead to wastage (similar to every other business we talk about here at Filipino Wealth)
A farmer must consider the type of market that he or she is catering to. The market’s preferences must be the indicator for the type of crop that the farmer will produce. This process would assure a higher cost for the agricultural product.
5. Land Preparation and having a good compost
Everything starts from the source, for one cannot expect something good from a bad source.
Such a basic reality is true in organic farming for the crops grown in an organic farm are cultivated from land with good soil. Therefore, in organic farming, attention is being given to the proper land preparation, especially on the application of compost. Proper land preparation with compost will make the soil fertile without any toxic chemicals used in “chemical type of farming.“
Such use of chemicals would have domino effects on the growing plants and the consumers’ environment. Law and regulation guide the usage of chemicals in farms in the Philipines, and we will speak more of this later.
It has been a practice in organic farming to use compost materials, manure, and other grass clippings. As a result, some of the farmers have resorted to having their compost site next to their other sites, thereby decreasing the financial output in the land preparation.
When making the land preparation, herbicides must be eliminated, and opt to use of manual plowing of the soil.
As an organic farmer, you must make the necessary assessment as to the type of soil as well as the need of the land for “rehabilitation. If there is a need for the soil to be rehabilitated reconditioned as an organic farmer, you must use vermicasts or compost.
This is the best way to rehabilitate the soil by having it “rest” from chemicals. After the land preparation, it will be a suitable time to introduce seedlings to the farm. All the types of inputs being introduced to the farm must be free inputs.
Nevertheless, the law is continuously changing. Therefore, even though every effort is made to update this farming in the Philippines article regularly, it’s recommended to seek the latest guidance from the Department of Agriculture.
6. Tend to your plant
You must be a tedious farmer when you are into organic farming, for it requires more attention and time compared to conventional farming. There are certain techniques that a farmer must resort to intending and growing the plant.
Like every living being, crops need water for sustenance. Depending on the type of crop but essentially, the plant needs to be watered at least twice in the day and preferably in the morning.
To ensure that the plants would be the ones to absorb the necessary nutrients of the soil, it is a must that weeds are removed. You may want to browse https://www.agrea.ph/farm-school/marinduque-now-has-local-based-organic-farming-assessors to know more about taking care of organic plants from seasoned organic farmers.
Other Areas Of Organic Farming In The Philippines
When starting a farming business in the Philippines, whether that be organic or something similar, there are many steps as we’ve previously mentioned; however, there are other areas of organic farming that you may wish to consider, such as ….
- Creating An Organic Farming Business Plan
- Creating A Financial Plan
- Raising Capital For Your New Business
- Registration Of The Business
- Obtaining The Relevant Permits And Licenses
- Becoming A Part Of The Farming Community
- Networking With Suppliers And Wholesalers
As mentioned previously, the Department of Agriculture is continuously developing as the Philippines grows. Therefore, they have some great sources of information for new farmers who are looking to start an organic farming business in the Philippines.
What is Organic Farming in the Philippines?
The Philippines, once hailed as the tiger in agricultural production in Asia had been regaining its strength in agriculture by resorting to organic farming.
The massive awareness of organic farming was made possible by passing a law that institutionalizes organic farming. The agricultural sector found a leg to stand on when Republic Act No. 10068 has been enacted with its implementing rules and regulations.
The definition of Organic Agriculture has been laid down by the Republic Act, which states that “Organic Agriculture includes all agricultural systems that promote the ecologically sound, socially acceptable, economically viable and technically feasible production of food and fibers.
It dramatically reduces external inputs by refraining from the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and pharmaceuticals”. With such definition, it can be deduced that this is the system of farming that is “ecological” or “biological.”
Such type of farming would necessarily reduce the depletion of the soil’s natural nutrients and avoid any harmful and toxic effects coming from products that are heavily laden with chemicals.
In the Philippines, Organic Agriculture had been spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture, and massive training was provided to the Filipino farmers. This core program of the Philippine government is geared toward the following beneficial effects;
Sustainability and Financial augmentation
Most of the farmers that have ventured into the urban areas seek a “greener pasture” or have a better financial return. Therefore, organic farming may be the solution to halt the people’s migration to the cities, for they can have more than enough when they stay in the rural areas.
Moreover, employing organic farming would drastically increase agricultural products that will be enough to augment the income of a Filipino farmer.
Aside from financial returns, engaging in organic farming would ensure sustainable development for intergeneration.
Betterment of health
Being free from harmful chemicals would necessarily redound to the better health status of the people, not only of the farmers but also of the end consumers.
Patronizing products produced from organic farms would make you an Earth crusader, for you are helping the environment to be free from pollution, chemicals, and other toxins produced by “conventional farming.”
There could be social equality when every individual is meeting his or her needs when it comes to financial freedom and food sustainability. These factors can be met when the community is into organic farming.
The Problems And Dilemmas The Philippines Face With Organic Farming
Organic farming may be seen as the best alternative way of farming that can ensure higher yield in production but is being done in a safe and non-toxic way. However, despite its “perfect” system, the Philippines has been facing several issues, dilemmas, and problems that it meets in implementing organic farming.
Let us take a glimpse at the different obstacles, dilemmas, and issues in organic farming;
Small farmer’s lack of financial and technical capacity
It is a fact that organic farming entails a higher output, and there is a requisite for a certification to be issued for the farmer to be “certified” as an organic farmer. Such a process entails that farmers may sell the products with the appropriate “labeling” organic products.
However, such certification also connotes that the farmer must shell out some money for it. Such a fact may be viewed as a financial burden for small farmers, but the Organic Act requires the same of 2010.
To properly classify a farmer as a smallholder farmer, he or she is cultivating a farm with a land area of 1.5 hectares.
Issues in Market Trading
The certification on the labels as an organic product would be viewed as the easiest way for the products to penetrate big supermarkets. Without such certification, it will be difficult for the farmer to trade his or her produce in the supermarket as “organic product,” making it advantageous for commercial-level organic farms.
At times, there is no variation in the prices between the conventional and organic products, for these products were comingled when transported to the market.
Therefore, the same price with the conventional products would hurt the organic farmer who had used care and capital to produce an organic commodity.
To aptly respond to this issue, the government had launched an “Organic Tiangge or market” to cater to the production of organic farmers.
But still, it has to be fully operationalized, for only a few communities have already adapted to this type of organic market.
Lack of Farm Inputs
You cannot expect a high yield if you will not have adequate farm inputs. In farming, the inputs include agricultural labor and fertilizer.
Looking into organic farming, you may say that this type of farming has a higher capital input compared to conventional farming. For one, it is laborious, and it requires organic fertilizers and seedlings that are free from chemicals.
Such requirements are frequently not being met by an organic farmer, for there is an increasing rate on the labor cost and the lack of supply of organic fertilizer and the needed seedling.
The Cost of Organic Farming in the Philippines
Despite the positive aspects of organic farming that would provide a better financial uplift to the dying agricultural economy, some farmers are still “hesitant” to venture into organic farming.
Undeniably it is the cost of having organic farming that prevents the farmers from fully adopting the system. This is because it has a higher capital cost than conventional farming, but some experts disagree and say that organic farming is actually cheaper.
The farmer must still have to secure the “certification” to sell their produce as “organic products.” Without such certification, the product would be treated as the same as the conventional products.
These costs may have driven off some potential farmers, especially small farm holders, to venture into organic farming.
The cost to start an organic farming business in the Philippines is around P450,000 for a small farm, including land and certification. However, several factors affect the price, including the scale of the farm and the scope of the business.