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Rationale

In 2010, the Republic Act 10068 was signed to promote and further develop the practice of organic agriculture in the Philippines. Several provisions of the law emphasized soil quality and health and organic fertilizer production as the basis of sustainability of organic agriculture. In Section 2 of the Organic Agriculture Act, the policy statement highlights the importance of enriching the fertility of soil and the need to undertake a comprehensive program for the promotion of community-based organic fertilizers together with a nation-wide educational and promotional campaign for the use and processing, as well as the adoption of organic agricultural system as a viable alternative to conventional production sys-tem. Moreover, in Section 4, it is encouraged to establish fa-cilities, equipment and processing plants that would catalyze the production and commercialization of organic fertilizers.

With these provisions in the law, the BSWM plays a pivotal role in conducting researches and promoting different soil management strategies and production inputs, particular-ly, fertilizers, microbial inoculants and soil amendments. It is an active implementing agency of the National Organic Agri-culture Program (NOAP). Under the OAP of the bureau starting CY 2013, one of the activities is the establishment of small scale composting facilities inasmuch as the vermicast/vermicompost is regarded as a high quality source of nutri-ents and contributes in the improvement of soil physical con-dition and biodiversity.

Each small-scale composting facility is composed of 15 kilogram African Night Crawlers (ANCs), shredder machine and a unit of vermi-tea brewer (production of vermitea as foliar fertilizer). To increase the accountability and responsi-bility of the beneficiary, the organization must provide vermi-beds with sheds, land and labor as counterpart. The facility is expected to provide the needed vermicast/vermicompost of farmer beneficiaries within the target 100-hectare cluster farms. This will ensure higher profit because of the significant reduction in the use of chemical fertilizers resulting to im-provement of soil quality and biodiversity without adverse effect on yield of crops. This sustainable approach to produc-tion will encourage the agricultural sector to engage in or-ganic farming.