Intensify composting to solve problem of high fertilizer cost and promote agri growth- Sen. Villar | BMPlus – Business Mirror

RECOGNIZING that healthy soil lays the groundwork for increased yield and income in agriculture, Senator Cynthia A. Villar has renewed her call to Filipino farmers   to ramp up composting using organic fertilizers. 
This is also following a farmers’ group support in calls for reducing the country’s reliance on imported fertilizer by increasing local production amid rapid increase in global prices.
Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on Agriculture and Food, cited the need to protect the soil from deterioration and degradation to ensure agricultural growth as well as food sustainability.
She noted that a healthy soil is crucial to food security as about 95 percent of the food we consume is directly or indirectly produced from the soil.
“Because of this, soil health is important for agricultural productivity, which in turn will affect food security. And the solution is as simple as putting nutrients back to the soul through composting and going organic,” stressed Villar.
In the Senate, Villar pushed for legislations that provide for soil protection through sustainable and organic means. She has also established and supported projects and programs in numerous communities all over the country to promote proper waste management, particularly involving kitchen and garden wastes as well that can be turned into composts or organic fertilizers
“By providing all the necessary support and assistance to our farmers, their cooperatives and other groups, we are encouraging them on composting, using readily available sources like wastes coming our own kitchen and garden,” emphasized the lady senator.
“In creating our own fertilizers, adding from having a steady supply of cheap fertilizers, we are also saving up money which farmers can use for other purposes to better improve their harvest and earnings. Imported fertilizers are much expensive than those locally produced. So we are really asking our farmers to do composting,” added Villar. 
She further lamented that instance when procurement of fertilizers had been marred with irregularities. “In some ways, this has been a root of corruption.”As an advocate of composting, Villar has also asked the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) to give Composting Facilities for Biodegradable Waste (CFBW) machines to local government units and farmers’ groups so they can make their own fertilizers through composting.
“As a requirement, the BSWM conducts Training on the capacity enhancement of beneficiaries on the operation   of a composting facility. This would also ensure there is efficient segregation of waste for conversion into useful organic fertilizer to reduce the cost of fertilizer,” explained the senator. 
The composting, she said, is in line with the priority thrust of the government’s National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP) to increase crop productivity through sustainable agriculture. 
“This will help to promote organic farming and proper waste management, to lessen our dependence to chemical fertilizers, especially imported which are very costly and to enrich the soil,” further stated Villar
With the support of the family’s Villar SIPAG Foundation, the senator had already established organic fertilizer facilities in 67 areas in Las Pinas City covering almost all the 20 barangays and homeowners associations and established the same facility to 50 Vistaland Communities all over the country. 
These facilities process kitchen and garden wastes collected daily from households. They can produce in a month 120 tons of organic fertilizers,  distributed for free  to farmers, urban gardeners  and planting enthusiasts.
Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) administrator Wilfredo Roldan also urged farmers  to produce more  local fertilizers, especially organic, amid the rising  global prices of fertilizers.  The Fertilizer Industry Association of the Philippines (FIAP) attributed the higher fertilizer prices in the global market to the increase in demand from countries like India, Australia, and Brazil and the recent gas shortage in Europe.
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