Alfredo Gonzales, a 60 years old, sugar planter, owns a 40-hectare farm which was buried under 20 feet of lahar when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991. His farm is now the site of the first mechanized production facility for organic fertilizer in the country. The farm produces 500 fertilizer bags which can be sold for P240 each. The fertilizers from Gonzales’ farm were registered with the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority. He named it Power or Filipino Ways for Environmental Reconditioning. Each fertilizer bag contains 4.40 percent nitrogen, 1.85 percent phosphorous, 2.08 percent potassium, 13.14 percent moisture, and is 27.38 percent organic. Microelements like calcium, magnesium, sulfur, manganese, iron, copper, and zinc are also added in the fertilizer. All untreated elements are acquired by mixing 60 percent chicken manure, 10 percent each of cow and hog compost, and 20 percent sugar waste and agricultural waste from public markets. With many native microorganisms, all of these go through decomposition from 21 to 27 days. You will be amazed with the process because flies can’t be seen in the decomposing area, indicating that the process is clean.
In 2006, the cost of chemical fertilizers is P2,000.00 per 50-kilogram bag. He also observed the inefficient practice of most farmers when he visited some provinces in Central Luzon. Palay husks were being burned. Gonzales started to gather sugar waste (i.e. bagasse, mud press and boiler hash) from Basecom, Sweet Crystal in San Fernando and Porac in Pampanga, and Central Azucarera de Tarlac in Hacienda Luisita in 2006 to 2008. The compost of chicken, cows and hogs, and hauled in agricultural wastes came from public markets. The excess fertilizers are 50 bags per day; Gonzales used it in his sugarcane projects. Some fertilizers were handed to friends for a trial. With his hardships in the production of fertilizers, he decided to engineer his own machineries. Now, he had his organic farm with 10 workers, including 7 Aetas. The one-hectare farm is certified organic by ecoland, a certification agency. The farm passed the Philippine National Standards for Organic Agriculture and Processing established by the Department of Agriculture. Vegetables, culinary and medicinal herbs, and fruit trees are being raised in Gonzales’ farm but Gonzales is not selling the farm products, he distributes most of the farm products to his relatives, friends and employees. Gonzales asks the advice of his cousin Eduardo, the Central Luzon assistant director of the Department of Agriculture, for manufacturing and farming problems. [via business.inquirer.net]