Senator Cynthia Villar called on all stakeholders to support the National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP) to boost the export of organic agricultural products and improve their competitiveness in the US 2.3-trillion aggregate economic size ASEAN market.
NOAP is the blueprint of the development and promotion of organic agriculture in the Philippines. It covers the promotion and commercialization of organic farming practices, cultivation and adoption of production and processing methods, capacity building of farmers and the education of consumers, among others.
But Villar said the Philippines, despite being an agricultural country, is yet to achieve the goal of NOAP, wherein five percent of the country’s agricultural farms should be converted last year to organic.
Until now, the veteran legislator said the organic farms in the country is about 3% of all farms. Despite this, the seasoned lawmaker said she is happy there are many provinces taking initiatives to attain their own target.
Recently, the lady senator said she was invited to an organic festival in Sergio Osmena in Zamboanga del Norte. They are working on being 100 percent organic by 2020 or three years from now.
“But I am confident that the new NOAP document for the next six years will map out more successes in organic agriculture as well as stakeholders,” she said as she noted, organic is the way to go to meet growing demand. Organic farming, she said, will be of big help to keep the soil healthy.
“We must remember that 95 percent of our food comes from the soil. The simple way is to return the nutrients to the soil through composting and the use of organic fertilizer. People should learn to compost kitchen and garden wastes,” explained Villar.
She said the use of organic fertilizer instead of chemical-based fertilizers is the easiest way and basic application of organic farming.
Villar emphasized that the inclusive use of chemical fertilizers and insecticides caused damage to crops, decrease crop production and result to loss soil fertility. She also said soil degradation in the country has already reached 38 percent.
“It will be a big problem to all of us if the soil will be totally destroyed. The success of organic agriculture will largely rely on the state of our soil,” she said.
As chairperson of the Senate agriculture and food committee, Villar said she has been providing legislative support to organic agriculture. Among them are the Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016 or Republic Act 10816.