RICE farmers in Western Visayas will soon produce their own commercial organic fertilizer through vermicomposting, an agriculture official said.

Agriculture Regional Director Larry Nacionales said this after the distribution of 160 units of community-based composting facility by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

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A total of 77 farmer-beneficiaries undergo trainings recently on vermicomposting operation, organic fertilizer production, operation and maintenance of portable shredder machines before they received the facility.

The DA and the Bureau of Soils and Water Management conducted the trainings.

The DA distributes vermi worms and portable shredder machines to the local government units so that they can produce their own vermicompost. These community-based composting facilities are managed by farmers-organizations.

The community-based composting facilities were distributed to 29 beneficiaries in the province of Aklan, 34 in Antique, 25 in Capiz, five in Guimaras, 50 in Iloilo, and 17 in Negros Occidental.

Nacionales said the farmers can reduce their cost of production with the use of organic fertilizer considering that commercial fertilizer is very expensive.

Producing vermicompost is economical because it makes use of waste materials such as rice stalk or straw, twigs and leaves, fruit and vegetable peeling and sugarcane tops.

Vermicomposting also helps solve garbage disposal problems and the organic fertilizer increases the fertility level of soil, which is not harmful to the environment.

This program aimed to strengthen the institutional capacity of farmers- organizations in producing organic fertilizer and assist them to become commercial organic fertilizer producers. (Lydia C. Pendon)