By Zac B. Sarian

Angel Padron, 74, of Brgy. Libtong, Bacarra, is the leading advocate of organic farming in Ilocos Norte. He is the president of the Ilocos Norte Organic Fertilizer Producers’ Association.

He produces certified rice seeds, and in the last five years, he has not used any chemical fertilizer on his farm, where he grows papaya, dragon fruit, and vegetables in addition to rice.

He claims he produces 200 cavans (40 kg each) of certified rice seed per hectare, which means 8 tons of palay. His operation is profitable because he gets a high price for his produce. His certified seeds are bought at P1,200 per 40-kg bag. If he produces registered seeds, that’s P1,600 per bag.

Padron and sacks of his certified rice seeds.

Angel makes his own organic fertilizer for sale as well as for his own use. The raw materials that he composts consist of chicken manure, carbonized rice hull, cow manure, water hyacinth, and fresh legume leaves.

He gets 60 bags (big feed bag) of chicken manure, 18 bags of carbonized rice hull, and 18 bags of water hyacinth and fresh legume leaves like kakawate and ipil-ipil. These are filed under a roofed structure, where they are piled layer upon layer. While piling each layer of the raw materials, EM or Effective Organisms are sprinkled on the materials. Once every week, the pile is turned over. In 35 days, the materials are composted and ready for use on the farm.

Angel estimates that the raw materials cost just about P4,500. But the resulting compost of 45 bags (50 kg each) is worth P11,250 at P250 per bag.

Angel also grows Red Lady papaya. In 2012, he planted 200 seedlings, which were grown organically. He also made a good profit from them. During the peak production period, his 200 trees yielded 450 kilos of ripe fruits each week, which he supplied to a well-known supermarket. He received P25 per kilo.

He maximizes production on his dragon fruit plantation by intercropping the plants with vegetables like eggplant, tomatoes, okra, and the like. His farm has now become a training center for organic farming.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s January 2014 issue.