Organic seed production-A A +A
By Edna Garde
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
IT'S summertime and most farmers in the province at this time of the year are into vegetable production. Of course, most of them are conventional farmers who are using chemical fertilizer and pesticides.
The 21st Panaad sa Negros Festival has passed but only one exhibitor sold seeds and it was not organic. If we were to adhere to the protocol of organic food production, I hope many seed producers will come out to produce for our organic farmers the seeds that they need.
You will ask, is it possible to mass produce seeds especially for organic vegetable production? I must say, very possible.
The farmers under Broad Initiatives for Negros Development (BIND) have long been working on the production of their own seeds but primarily by selection from what they have planted in the field. Then during the Panaad fest this year, I saw many POs (people’s organizations) having their own seed produce being sold there in the Organic Village.
Today, I would like to bring your attention to the possibility of mass producing your own organic vegetable seeds as a business. The truth is, organic vegetable industry is flourishing due to consumers’ preference for organically grown produce over traditionally produced vegetables.
With the new regulation since October 2000 requiring organic seed sources for organically labeled vegetables, many organic growers are searching for certified organic seed.
Selection of a seed crop that will thrive in the environmental conditions of the selected area is critical for achieving economic profit for the seed produced. Many organic growers want to grow open-pollinated as well as hybrid cultivars.
But strictly speaking, hybrid seed is not the first choice of farmers growing organic vegetable. Open-pollinated are the commonly preferred here in our province because of its sustainability: it can still be replanted up to the third time. Just do the selection upon maturity of seeds or do the field selection first by not harvesting the ones you chose for the seed.
Guidelines for organic seed production are lengthy but I would like to introduce you the main points, as follows: (1) land selection, (2) land preparation and soil fertilization, (3) planting techniques, (4) weed, insect, and fungal management, (5) biological pest control, (6) harvesting, threshing, and drying, and (7) cleaning and storage
There you go. This is a challenge for the organic agriculture advocates who own a vast tract of land especially the ones that are far from the pollution of the national road network with all the fumes from the vehicles that are smoke-belching!
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 22, 2014.