MANILA – Senator Cynthia Villar on Monday urged farmers to practice composting amid the increasing cost of chemical fertilizers in the country.
During the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) celebration of World Soil Day 2022 in Quezon City, Villar noted that fertilizer average price per sack that increased from PHP934 in 2019 to PHP2,134 in 2022 can still be minimized should farmers start practicing composting.
Composting is the natural process of recycling organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps, into a valuable fertilizer that can enrich soil and plants.
"With the country's dependence on imported fertilizers, the current global demand greatly affects the entry of fertilizer imports in our country. This caused limited local fertilizer supply that influenced the escalation of local prices," Villar said.
The World Soil Day this year with the global theme "Soils: Where food begins", the lawmaker said, is held annually to spread awareness on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources.
"Soil nutrient loss is a major soil degradation process threatening nutrition. It is recognized as being among the most critical problems at a global level for food security and sustainability," Villar, who chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture, said in her speech.
This can be addressed through soil management, increasing soil awareness and encouraging societies to improve soil health.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, if the soils are not managed sustainably, fertility will be gradually lost which may lead to producing nutrient-deficient plants.
Villar said in her hometown Las Pinas City, she initiated a composting project which saves the local government more than PHP300 million annually by recycling 75 percent of waste into organic fertilizer.
She said they have established 118 composting facilities nationwide, 67 of which are placed in 20 barangays of Las Piñas and another 50 in Vista Land communities.
"The project touches the lives of many vegetable enthusiasts interested in home gardening, the farmers and private individuals for they can avail free organic fertilizer together with vegetable seeds for their farms or backyard garden," said Villar, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.
Villar also thanked the BSWM for helping promote composting and for completing the procurement process in its PHP1.1 billion fund for the composting program. (PNA)