Organic Rice Farming Sees Bright Future in Cordillera and Bicol

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) revealed this week that it will continue to support organic rice farming efforts in Bicol and the Cordillera where the practice sees a bright future.

PhilMech Executive Director Ricardo L. Cachuela said the bureau already succeeded in making rice farmers in Bicol and the Cordillera benefit from facilities and technologies introduced by the bureau.

Efforts to support organic rice farming have been in place since his agency was still the Bureau of Postharvest Research and Extension (BPRE), Cachuela stressed.

PhilMech superseded BPRE on November 2009 with an added mandate to develop and promote agriculture mechanization in the Philippines.

"With consumers becoming more health conscious, PhilMech has been developing systems to support organic rice farming efforts. Two of our successful projects are the organic rice farming of the Pecuaria Development Cooperative, Inc. (PDCI) and the Cordillera Heirloom Rice Project," Cachuela said.

PDCI's story also proves that agrarian reform communities (ARCs) can greatly benefit from postharvest technologies.

It was in 1988 that 817.33 hectares of land known as Pecuaria in Lanipaga, Bula in Camarines Sur were placed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). PDCI was registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) on September 30, 1991.

About 130 hectares of PDCI land are planted to organic rice and whole year supply is assured because of the utilization of a flatbed dryer which the PhilMech (then the BPRE) provided to the cooperative in 2008. …