THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it is making soil rejuvenation the basis for its farm productivity efforts, with the objective of increasing rice and corn output.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said in a statement Tuesday that he has instructed the DA’s commodity program directors to put soil rejuvenation at the center of their productivity strategies.

“Rejuvenating and enriching our soils with organic nutrients and compost, including animal manure, must be part of all our crop commodity banner programs, including promotion of composting technologies,” Mr. Dar said.

Mr. Dar said farmers should maintain a compost pit, while their cooperatives and associations should be provided with shedders and composting facilities by the farm mechanization program.

“Recycling farm wastes and transforming them into compost and organic fertilizer is not only sustainable, but also provides farmers additional income,” Mr. Dar said.

“As soil is the foundation of agriculture, we must protect, preserve and nurture it to sustainably produce adequate, affordable and nutritious food for all Filipino families,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Dar said there is still a need to pursue a balanced fertilization strategy to maximize farm production during the pandemic.

The DA defines balanced fertilization as the use of inorganic and organic fertilizers.

“We urge farmers and organic agriculture practitioners to elevate their game in promoting not only a healthy ecosystem and producing safe and nutritious food, but also in making organic products affordable for everyone,” Mr. Dar said.

Mr. Dar said the recently signed Republic Act No. 11511, which amended Republic Act No. 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 now provides a cheaper alternative for the certification of organic products with the ‘Participatory Guarantee System’ (PGS).

“The PGS plays a vital role in rural development and farmer empowerment through their active engagement in the whole process of verification, decision-making, and marketing,” Mr. Dar said.

The new law also creates the National Organic Agriculture Program-National Program Coordinating Office, which will serve as the planning, secretariat, and coordinating office of the National Organic Agriculture Board. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave