LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- A lack of farmers willing to go organic is plaguing the Valley.

Agricultural Officer Nida Organo said out of the 7,000 farmers in the Valley a mere 8.5 percent have shifted into organic farming.

"It is not a matter of cost because there is a market for organic vegetables," she said.

Organo said the enthusiasm to go into the healthier option, organic farming, seems to be the problem, which local farmers face.

"We have to educate the farmers, to help them see that through organic farming they can save their families and the environment," she explained.

Organo said challenges facing the organic industry include more encouragement for farmers to go back to natural methods of farming without chemicals.

At the Valley Market the new organization, La Organica, has been launched with the existing, LaTop, an organic produce association which supplies products to the Valley as well as various points in the region and is also distributed to mall outlets.

Mayor Edna Tabanda said there have been talks with the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) to create a plan of action for the implementation of "organic zones" within the 16 barangays in the Valley.

Tabanda said the identification of green zones will be done after which, a pilot area for each village will be done to jumpstart interest for organic farming.

Incentives for areas as well as individuals who will go into organic farming are also planned.

Organo said there is only 20.5 hectares of land dedicated to organic farming in the valley with only 386 farmers into the trade.

All barangays in the Valley produce organic vegetables except for barangay Cruz which has no farmlands.

The MAO has earmarked a P100,000 budget the organic farming but asks for assistance from the Department of Agriculture capability building and projects.