WITH problems brought by conventional farming to health, soil and environment, organic farming gains its entry in agriculture system. However, going into organic farming needs to face many challenges and among these is the scarcity of needed materials.
Nowadays, only few organic materials are commonly used which include wild sunflower, alnus, azolla, and other leguminous shrubs with various chemical compositions. The continuous harvesting of these organic materials greatly affect their availability consequently affecting its benefits to diversify the ecosystem, sacrificing other organisms that are dependent on these organic materials.
Hence, the Cordillera Organic Agriculture Research and Development (COARDC) initiated the documentation of organic materials commonly used as soil amendments by the organic practitioners in Benguet. The study aims to provide information to the organic farmers on the potentials of the different organic materials or substrates to be used as a source of plant nutrients and with pesticidal property.
In La Trinidad, the commonly used organic materials identified by the organic farmers are: galinsoga (beshay) with a total Nitrogen content of 2.25%, hairy bidens (puriket, 2.47%), wild sunflower (marapait, 3.54%), goat weed (bangbangsit, 2.35%), wire grass (paragis, 1.83%), French beans (2.88 %), mist flower (sipa-sipa, 2.06%), Japanese alnus (2.65%), broccoli (2.69%), elephant grass (sakate, 1.61%), bracken fern (alam-am, 2.82%), banana trunk (0.68%), devil weed (bungbungtit, 2.47%), climbing hemp (bikas, 2.87%), buffalo grass (galgalot, 1.68%), among others.
The commonly used organic materials in Tublay are: wild sunflower (marapait, 2.78%), galinsoga (beshay, 2.02%), pig weed (gatdavong, 2.72%), hairy bidens (puriket, 2.20%), goat weed (bangbangsit, 2.31%), banana trunk (0.89%), wire grass (paragis, 1.75%), French beans (2.67 %), Japanese alnus (2.26%), broccoli (2.61), pechay (2.23), calliandra (2.64%), bracken fern (alam-am, 1.70%), heart leaf dry mary (sitsit, 2.04%), among others.
After the initial chemical analysis was done, the results showed that the Nitrogen content of the materials in La Trinidad is higher than Tublay because the soil in Tublay is reddish brown and yellow brown which indicates low fertility and acidity of the soil compared to La Trinidad which is dark brown. Moreover, other chemical composition particularly Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium are being analyzed.
By knowing the chemical composition of these organic materials, farmers will be guided in choosing on what organic materials will be used that will satisfy the nutrient requirements of their crops. In addition, some plant materials will also provide protection of their crops from pests.
With the use of these organic materials, the ecosystem would be sustained and could provide a better programming of the management practices in organic farming.