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What does it take to convert a rice field cultivated the conventional way into an organic farm? One technique is to follow the system of Pastor Jerry Dionson of Humayan Ministry in Bago City, Negros Occidental. He has been helping the farmers in this rice bowl of Negros in converting conventionally farmed fields into organic farms.
Dionson and his farming colleagues have good reasons for converting rice fields into organic farms. For one, it is economical to produce rice the organic way since the farmers themselves are taught to make their own fertilizers and plant protection inputs. Usually, an organic farmer can grow organic rice at a cash expense of only about P14,700 per hectare. For another reason, the price of organic rice is much higher than the conventionally produced grains. The selling price is P60 to P80 per kilo.
As per the experience at the Humayan Ministry, the yield increases as the years pass by. In 2005, when they started converting their farms, the yield was only 75 cavans of palay per hectare. This increased to 87 cavans in 2006, 93 cavans in 2007, 115 cavans in 2008 and then 128 cavans in 2009.