From one hectare, organic farming grows by leaps and bounds in Cagayan Valley
Five years ago, only a little over a hectare out of thousands of hectares of farmlands in the Cagayan Valley region was devoted to organic farming.
Those were the times when people believed that the perfect-shaped and shiniest fruits were the best ones, and the presence of worms in their fields and caterpillars in their greens were signs of low quality.
As farmers began to realize the health benefits and the higher prices that organic agriculture brings, the hectarage of organic farms in Cagayan Valley rose to more than 5,000 hectares in 2014.
There are now 16,777 hectares devoted to organic farming in Cagayan Valley.
Organic farming’s growing market means consumers are now willing to pay more for good health.
They are also more aware of the social and environmental costs of slowly and naturally bringing back soil fertility, increasing farm productivity, reducing pollution and environmental degradation, protect the health of farmers, and save on costly farm inputs.
Restaurants, fruit and vegetable stalls sell organic food products at a higher price. This encouraged more growers in Cagayan Valley to produce more.
Among the region’s five provinces, Batanes leads with the most number of farmers practicing organic farming at 1,237. Cagayan and Isabela follow with 890 and 346, respectively.
In terms of land area, Isabela has the largest at 14,483 hectares, followed by Cagayan with 867 hectares and Batanes with 719 hectares.
In a recent conference on organic agriculture, Department of Agriculture Regional Executive Director Lucrecio Alviar Jr. expressed optimism that farmers will eventually shift to organic farming not only for its commercial value but also for its health and environment benefits.