Despite the increasing demand for organic food, organic farmers are dealing with limited organic agricultural inputs available in the market.
This is one of the major findings of a research project based at the Community Innovations Studies Center (CISC) of the UPLB College of Public Affairs and Development (CPAf) entitled “Production and Market Systems of Organic Agricultural Inputs in Major Organic Rice and Vegetable Producing Provinces in the Philippines.” Led by Dr. Miriam R. Nguyen, the project was funded by the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR).
“There is an increasing demand for organic food emanating from heightened interest in improved health and well-being. Consumers are beginning to realize the ill effects of [too] many chemicals on food and appreciate the nutritional and medicinal values of [organic food],” Dr. Nguyen said.
She further explained that organic farming is seen to alleviate the deteriorating integrity of soil and water resources resulting from too much use of chemicals. With this increasing trend in the consumption and therefore, production of organic products, Dr. Nguyen noted the need to ensure the supply, distribution, and utilization of organic inputs, specifically in rice and vegetable farming. Hence, the research project was conducted from March 2018 to February 2021.
The 3-year research covered 61 producers of organic agricultural inputs across 16 provinces nationwide such as Metro Manila, Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Laguna, Batangas, Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, Camarines Sur, Guimaras, Cebu, Negros Occidental, Iloilo, South Cotabato, Davao, and Bukidnon. Data were gathered through key informant interviews, household surveys, and round table discussions. Research findings were published as a book and policy brief.
Titled “Organic Agricultural Inputs System in the Philippines: The Case of Rice and Vegetables,” the book contains six chapters: 1) Improving the Organic Agricultural Inputs System: Project Overview; 2)Institutional Mechanisms, Opportunities, and Challenges in the Production of Organic Agricultural Inputs; 3) Certification, Registration, Packaging, and Labelling of Organic Agricultural Inputs; 4) Marketing of Organic Agricultural Inputs; 5) Profile of Organic Farmers and Their Utilization of Organic Agricultural Inputs, and 6) Recommendations to Improve the Organic Agricultural Inputs System. This book is available at the CPAf Library and CISC Reading Room.
Meanwhile, the 2021 CPAf Policy Brief, which also features the results of the project, can be downloaded at the CPAf website.
Aside from Dr. Nguyen, other members of the project team were Agnes R. Chupungco, Dulce D. Elazegui, Maria Francesca O. Tan, Macrina G. Umali, Cristina A. Alvarez, Joanne V. Alvarez Roxanne A. Banalo, and Florita P. Rañeses. Rona Thea Reodica, Ruth Ann Ruelos, and Athan Villanueva also served as research assistants.