by ERNESTO T. SOLIDUM
Picture shows the author, Mr. Ernesto T. Solidum with Mr. Edwin P. Jimenez, farmer entrepreneur showing a rice field in Mabilo, New Washington. Note the healthy stand and fully filled grains as a result of using Masinag foliar organic fertilizer. Adjacent field owned by Mrs. Erlina J. Alingig is heavily infested by Brown Planthoppers (BPH) despite calendar spraying of pesticides.
In 1995 my closed friend, Artaban Abad of Upi, Maguindanao showed me odd looking samples of home made bio fertilizer in muslin covered glass jars. Those were fermented fruit rejects of pineapple, bananas, lanzones. In a matter of 3 – 4 days, that concoction could be sprayed directly as bio fertilizer and insecticide.
Abad’s residential house and backyard project were in the Poblacion and bounded by Christians and Tidurays. Yet, occasional complaints are limited to the noise of his farm animals. Nothing serious about it. All his neighbors were meat lovers.
He later confided that this was the result of his 10 day hands on training at the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Tacorong, Sultan Kudarat. The Center provides technical skills on organic farming system that avoids the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and growth regulators. They rely on crop rotation, crop residues, animal manures, legumes, mechanical cultivators and mineral–bearing rock.
As of Sept. 29, 2010, Jimenez’ farm is in the hard dough stage or one week from harvesting. One can easily observe fully filled grains, healthy and erect stand of rice plants and insignificant pest/disease damage. Estimated yield is more than 100 cavans per hectare.
Seedlings are pulled 12 DAT and transplanted approximately 15 X 15 cms at 1-2 seedlings per hill. Here, closer spacing and accurate water management prevent significant weed growth. When weeds emerge, the farmer conducts spot hand weeding. It is best not to apply herbicides.