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NFTS: Rediscover How Nature Sustains Itself

In a time when synthetic fertilizers and pesticides abound the market, it makes us somehow think twice of the safety of our food. It is a fact that these artificial farm inputs bring about health hazards both to the farmers and the consumers. Thus, the demand to lessen or eradicate the use of these fertilizers and pesticides are being pushed by organic farming advocates all over the world.

Aside from posing health hazards, these chemicals also decrease soil quality and degrade the environment in general. Environmentalists are doing everything they can in making sure that nature is well protected from the harmful elements brought about by these chemicals, but demand for these products are so high that even a worldwide campaign against their use is pointless at this time. It is a fact that nature has provided us with everything that we need, and it is up to us to take care of what has been given to us.

Improving yield and productivity and increasing agricultural inputs are indeed major concerns in agriculture. These fertilizers, pesticides and genetic improvements are in fact giving us more choices but if we are to choose wisely, why not rediscover how nature sustains itself? Thus, NFTS.

Nature Farming Technology System (NFTS), is a systematic integrated farming method promoted by the Technical Assistance Center for the Development of Rural and Urban Poor-Sustainable Integrated Area Development (TACDRUP-SIAD) that utilizes microbes in the making of natural inputs for crops, livestock and herbal medicines. The agri-residues are utilized as feeds to livestock, while manure is being processed into farm inputs. Crops and livestock treated with this technology are viewed to be competitive in the global market as not a single artificial chemical is being used in the procedure.

The process of fermenting indigenous materials together with natural fermenting agents is the basic method used in the making of these inputs. Such inputs as Indigenous Micro-organisms (IMO), Oriental Herbal Nutrients (OHN), Calcium Phosphate (CaPh4), Fermented Fruit Juice (FFJ), Fermented Plant Juice (FPJ) and Natural Insect Attractants (NIA) had been applied by TACDRUP-SIAD’s partner farmers in key areas in Southern and Central Mindanao and all were satisfied with the technology. It does not only improve productivity but also decreases the cost of production significantly by 70 percent.

NFTS, integrated with livestock raising, has also come up with desirable results. Through the technology, raising swine will never ever be too tasking that even retirables, women and children could do the thing themselves. The animals no longer need to be washed neither their pens be cleaned or sanitized, therefore reducing labor requirements by a significant 90%. The micro-organic activity within the beddings of the pen and their feeds are enough to keep these animals and their abode clean and free from harmful elements. Amazingly, they don’t stink, unlike those raised in conventional methods, consequently making it viable for backyard swine raisers even in highly urbanized places. More importantly, 30% of feeding components are common grasses (grasses that ruminants like goats and cows eat), which makes feeding inputs much less expensive.

Other aspects of the technology puts to use other indigenous knowledge systems, particularly in seed selection and preparation, so that farmers will eventually produce their own seeds and not depend on external sources or even reach the point of loaning out land just to acquire enough capital to start with.

The technology basically follows the discipline and framework of sustainable development. Livestock is positioned as a major income provider, particularly as a women-led economic activity in the household. The most important aspect of the technology is that it will encourage people, specially farmers, to be creative and develop a positive attitude towards productivity and self-reliance.