Itogon shifts from gold to agriculture

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

THE town of Itogon is no longer just the land of gold, as it shifted its main livelihood to “golden” agriculture.

Municipal Agriculturist Dr. Prudencio Pedro said, "Itogon is no longer 'gold.' So we are conceptualizing that the real gold of Itogon is agriculture."

He said they are implementing organic farming through using organic fertilizers and the good agricultural practices (GAP).

Pedro said if they could not achieve the pure organic system, they will do the GAP.

An organic demo farm is currently being established in Barangay Poblacion where farmers are taught its basics.

In order to achieve organic agriculture, Pedro said they will teach farmers how to use organic fertilizers like vermicompost.

"After four to five years, we aim to reduce poverty in Itogon through organic agriculture," he stressed.

However, the agriculturist admitted they are still struggling since farmers in the town are used to chemicals in farming.

"In order to achieve our goal, we have to transform the people too. We need to change their mindset so we conducted several free seminars on organic agriculture and its advantages," he said.

Another challenge the agriculture office of Itogon faces is on the degrading state of soil because of mining. Some farms were eroded and some are considered dead because of mining.

"We will try to revive the state of the soil. We will condition the soil into vegetable-producing soil," Pedro said.

Meanwhile, the agriculture office also promotes the livestock dispersal program, which will teach farmers on how to raise cows and carabaos as sources of their income apart from organic farming.

"We are aiming for white revolution; we want to produce milk out of these livestock. The milking animals will serve as our source of income," Pedro explained.

A total budget of P10 million is expected to reach the office for 2014. The bulk of the fund usually goes to hard projects while only small fund will go to soft projects.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on December 30, 2013.

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