TWENTY-SEVEN farmers who belong to batches named “broccoli” and “tomato” are now proud holders of the Certificate in Practical Organic Agriculture (CPOA) from the Benguet State University (BSU).

The tomato batch has 11 members who took the CPOA training from January 25 to February 2, while the broccoli batch has 16 members who took the CPOA training on November 23 to December 2, 2009.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

Each batch is named after vegetables. The farmer-trainees hail from the different municipalities of Benguet and Mt. Province.

“More people are becoming aware of the hazards of chemical inputs in agriculture and its effects on the environment. Many are now interested in producing organic products as evidenced by the requests for training on organic agriculture,” said Prof. Wilma L. Marquez of the Publications Office under BSU’s Research and Extension sector.

“BSU started the conduct of trainings on organic agriculture with the aim to train would be practitioners,” she added.

The training includes interactive lectures, field demonstration, practicum/hands-on preparation of organic farm inputs, workshops, open discussions and learning synthesis to be presented by the participant, and field trips to nearby organic farms.

Trainees are given firsthand organic agriculture technologies to apply in their own farms and projects. As a practicum on marketing, the trainees will have to sell some organic farm produce around BSU towards the end of the training.

Trainors include faculty-researchers of the College of Agriculture; organic practitioner Mr. Rogel Marzan of Cosmic Farms; Magsasakang Siyentista for Natural Farming Engr. Eric Tinoyan of Tuba; Doctor John Tinoy-an (a medical doctor) discussed “Health Effects of Chemicals in Conventional Agriculture” while Ms. Phoebe Ullalim- Pasiwen, a nurse presented the Deadly Effects of Pesticides.

The Office of the Extension Services facilitates the conduct of the training by request. At least 10 participants are needed for it to push through. Training fee for the five to eight days training is P5,000. (JS Tabangcura and WL Marquez)