by Mary Edrielle Valiente
The University of the Phillippines Open University (UPOU) participates once more in the annual SyenSaya by showcasing different organic products in its booth themed “supporting sustainable agriculture and natural resources management through open and distance e-learning.”
Aside from promoting e-learning as one of the most prestigious online education platforms in the country, the UPOU also wants to promote sustainable and environment-friendly farming.
OJ Gomez, a student of organic agriculture in the UPOU, displayed his very own products from integrated diversified organic farming, which he learned from the university. The UPOU booth featured Gomez’ native chickens, pigs, organic feeds, and plants.
A chef by profession, Gomez said he wants to promote organic agriculture because of the health benefits. He also wants to develop a breed of native pigs that will be best for cooking lechon.
According to Gomez, he wants to promote organic farming for the sake of fair practice.
“Do you know what conventional farmers do? They mass produce plants grown with chemicals and sell it to the public. But they plant a small amount of vegetables organically, and that’s what they eat because they know it’s the healthier option. That’s not fair practice,” he said.
“With the traditional way of growing pigs, you depend on the income you earn to buy more and more feeds. But with organic farming, you can feed your pigs anytime because it requires you to plant the vegetables that your pigs will eat. These plants are self-sustaining,” he added.
Another good point of organic agriculture is that it does not destroy the environment unlike the chemicals that conventional farmers use. Gomez said that “organic farming enriches the soil because you use natural produce as fertilizers. Even the animal excretions become beneficial.”
He added that less than one percent of the farmers in the Philippines practice organic agriculture. That is why he is trying to promote it by continuing to participate in every science fair he can, SyenSaya being one of them.