Known as the rice granary of Davao del Sur, 70% of the Municipality of Magsaysay’s workforce are farmers who depend on the yield of their land to survive.
Mere survival, however, was becoming more difficult due to high production costs, poor soil productivity, prevalence of pests and diseases, inadequate post-harvest facilities, unstable market prices of farm products, and the lack or absence of alternative sources of income when the yield fails.
In 2002, Magsaysay instituted the Diversified Organic Farming System (DOFS) to address the worsening situation. Its six components are the production of organic rice, which is the main source of livelihood, along with backyard gardening, livestock, poultry, fish culture, and high-value crops.
DOFS advocates the production of rice through organic method. Instead of using commercial fertilizers, it relies on crop rotation, animal manures, and the spraying of milk and honey. The air was thick with skepticism when the program was introduced.
Farmers had to be convinced that cutting down on expensive chemicals could improve the soil and increase their yield.
The model farms helped to change their minds. There was minimal decrease in production during the first year and a drastic increase come second cropping.
Magsaysay has been implementing the program for more than two and a half years now.
This program is recognized as a Trailblazing Program, a finalist for the 2005 Galing Pook Awards.