Ad­vo­cate of pes­ti­cide-free agri­cul­ture

Agriculture - - Contents -

IT IS AL­WAYS ed­u­ca­tional and re­ward­ing to talk to peo­ple who have hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence in good agri­cul­tural prac­tices. Just like Michael Batay­ola of Ban­tayan Is­land in Cebu, who has been growing food crops that don’t have to be sprayed with chem­i­cal pes­ti­cides.

His ap­proach is to pro­vide the plants with bal­anced nu­tri­tion so that they will grow fast and healthy with­out the need to spray them with ex­pen­sive and dan­ger­ous syn­thetic chem­i­cal pes­ti­cides. In his own farm in Ban­tayan Is­land in the last cou­ple of years, his egg­plant did not suf­fer from any dam­age by fruit and shoot tip bor­ers. He has also helped many other farm­ers im­prove their farm­ing by teach­ing them to feed their plants with the right nu­tri­ents for bal­anced nu­tri­tion.

His ap­proach in farm­ing is very sci­en­tific. First, he has to know the pH of the soil so he can give the right rec­om­men­da­tion. He has the lat­est pH me­ter that can give him im­me­di­ate in­for­ma­tion on the pH of the soil. If the soil is acidic, say 4.5 pH, he will tell the farmer not to ap­ply chem­i­cal fer­til­izer in the soil be­cause that would be use­less. The plants will not be able to ab­sorb the fer­til­izer ap­plied in the soil. In­stead, Mike would rec­om­mend fo­liar spray­ing of urea to pro­vide the nu­tri­ents needed by the plants. Mean­while, the soil should be im­proved with the ap­pli­ca­tion of biochar like car­bonized rice hull or soil con­di­tioner and pH en­hancer like Green Cal which con­tains cal­cium sul­phate di­hy­drate, cal­cium, and sul­fur.

Just like many other farm­ers, Michael started plant­ing hy­brid veg­etable seeds from East-West and Al­lied Botan­i­cal the con­ven­tional way. While he got good har­vests, he had to re­sort to buy­ing medicine for headaches and other ail­ments brought about by his use of chem­i­cal pes­ti­cides.

Michael Batay­ola (left) stand­ing in a farmer’s field of cab­bage grown with­out any chem­i­cal pes­ti­cide. (Above) A close-up of cab­bage not sprayed with chem­i­cal pes­ti­cide.

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