Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Philippine LGUs join organic-farming bandwagon to improve peoples’ lives.
Local chief executives from Zamboanga del Sur, Bukidnon, Agusan and Surigao provinces are now embarking on organic agricultural governance to help improve the lives of their constituents who are mostly farmers.
Gov. Antonio Cerilles of Zamboanga del Sur; Mayor Leandro Jose Catarata of Valencia City, Bukidnon; Mayor Nacianceno Pacalioga Jr. of Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur; and Mayor John Mark Billanes of Trento, Agusan del Sur, along with thousands of rice farmers in these localities, are beginning to adopt the organic way of producing the Filipinos’ staple food through the Integrated Rice-Ducks Farming System (IRDFS) now being championed by the Philippine Agrarian Reform Foundation for National Development (Parfund) Inc.
These local government unit (LGU) executives and farmers who have adopted the IRDFS technology have attested to the effectiveness of the IRDF system in ensuring rice sufficiency as well as empowering rice farmers to better their economic status.
“Organic farming, specifically the rice-ducks farming system, really helps us improve the lives of our farmers,” Cerilles said in an interview following the recent launch in Zamboanga del Sur of the IRDF system in the provincial capital, Pagadian City.
The IRDF system, developed by Japanese organic farmer Takao Furuno, diversifies rice farmers’ income sources, thus improving their economic status and effectively mitigates global warming by eliminating methanogens (bacteria that produce methane) in the irrigated-rice paddies. Irrigated rice paddies emit methane, which is produced when bacteria decomposes organic matter.
Methane is acknowledged as the second most important greenhouse gas produced by human activity after carbon dioxide and is responsible for about a fifth of warming effects. Its chief sources are landfill sites, fossil fuel energy and agriculture, particularly rice and livestock farming.
Reiner Wassmann, a biologist specializing in climate change at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), said that methane is at least 20 times more effective at trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere. He said that methane was responsible for one-fifth of all greenhouse-gas emissions. About 10 percent of the methane comes from rice farming, while other sources include the flatulence of cows and decomposing landfill garbage dumps, he added.
But ducks integrated into the rice paddies for eight hours a day effectively eliminates methanogens and thus reduce emission of methane, according to Chinese scientists Chengfang Li, Cougi Cao, Jingping Wang, Ming Zhan, Weiling Yuan and Shahrear Ahmad who did a research on the “Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Wetland Rice-Duck Cultivation System in Southern China.”
These Chinese scientists found out that IRDF System “will contribute to alleviating global warming” after evaluating the integrated global warming potentials (GWPs) of a rice–duck cultivation system based on methane (CH4) and N2O emission.
By Business Mirror
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