Organic soybean production pushed in Ilocos

Published March 19, 2019, 3:59 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Freddie Lazaro 

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – Researchers of the Department of Agriculture in Ilocos have endorsed organic soybean production in the region to enhance the crop’s harvest while preserving the soil environment.

This developed when the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Field Office through the Research and Development (R&D) division engaged Ilocano farmers in a research project entitled “Enhancing organic soybean production and processing for improved local supply and utilization in Region I.”

Melinda Calumpit, the leader and manager of research, said the project covered a eight municipalities with 9.5 hectares involving 10 farmer-cooperators in the region.

Funded by the DA’s Bureau of Research (BAR), the project aims to enhance organic soybean production and processing, improving the soil’s physical, chemical and biological properties, and provide health benefits to humans and animals for its food and feed use.

Soybean (Glysine max) is a leguminous crop that can fix the nitrogen from the atmosphere through bacteria living in the roots. It can be made into tokwa, taho, soya milk, soy sauce, cookies and texturized vegetable protein (TVP) and other sepal-based products. A protein-rich foods and with high lunacin content (anti-cancer), this crop is a versatile crop because all of its parts can be converted into something that is useful.

“The residues when threshed is a good substrate in mushroom production while its hull or the soybean pods when grind can be used for feeds of animals,” Calumpit said.

Ruel Atanacio, 38, from Barangay Bacsil in San Juan, Ilocos Sur, was among the 10 farmer-cooperators who was encouraged to plant soybean in his 3.5-hectare farm.

Other farmer-cooperators came from Labrador, Pangasinan and Luna, La Union. In Ilocos Sur, the farmer cooperators came from Candon City and San Emilio. Farmers in San Nicolas and Burgos in Ilocos Norte were also convinced to try out soybean growing.

DA provided planting materials with seeding rate of 50 kilograms per hectare using the plant now and pay later scheme. Aside from seeds, the farmers were also provided with seed inoculants, biocontrol agents, concoctions, organic fertilizers and technical assistance prior to planting.

The soybean variety used in the project is the PSB SY2 which was considered by. Calumpit as the most adaptable variety in Ilocos Region.

The project has a budget of P1 million and will also provide processing and production machineries and equipment such as grinders, extractors, tofu makers, ovens for cookies, sealers and freezers.

The harvester, sorter and other farm machinery equipment needed in the production and post harvest production will also be provided to the farmers to enhance their yield from the existing 1.2 tons/ha to 1.7 tons/ha.

“Once all these interventions are in place, we are optimistic that we could add up to the more than a thousand hectare area planted with soybean nationwide,” said Calumpit.