In hopes of enhancing food production in the country and protecting the country’s natural resources, the Department of Agriculture (DA) recognizes organic agriculture as a key element in moving forward as it formally opened the 8th Organic Agriculture Month.
With the theme, “Maunlad na Pagsasaka, Garantisado sa Organikong Agrikulturang Sinaliksik,” the Organic Agriculture Month aims to promote organic agriculture by focusing national attention on the importance of organic agriculture in enhancing global competitiveness and environmental integrity, increasing food security and safety, and alleviating poverty as per the Proclamation No. 1030, series of 2015.
As part of the government’s efforts to entice local farmers to practice organic agriculture, the Republic Act No. 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 was passed to establish “a comprehensive program for the promotion of community-based organic agriculture systems” and the “adoption of organic agriculture system as a viable alternative.”
It was later amended through the Republic Act No. 11511 to introduce the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) as an alternative to the expensive third-party certifications, therefore helping about 165,000 small-scale organic farmers to “sell their products with the organic label at a premium price and be reached by consumers,” Senator Cynthia Villar explained during her message.
Villar also shared her personal experiences as an organic agriculture practitioner and advocate, with main focus on the benefits of capacitating communities to produce their own organic fertilizers.
“A total of 67 composting facilities have been established in the City of Las Piñas.”
The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform Chairperson proudly revealed that a total of 67 composting facilities have been established in the City of Las Piñas during her term as a politician. With the facilities producing more than 800 tons of organic fertilizer annually and the local government recycling plastic wastes, the city generates less waste and saves P300M on a yearly basis.
The veteran legislator then encouraged the DA – Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) to scale up the distribution of composting facilities throughout the country to help ease financial burdens of small-scale farmers, to preserve soil fertility, and to protect the environment from the impacts of chemical fertilizers.
Meanwhile, DA Undersecretary for Special Concerns and for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Zamzamin Ampatuan presented the recognition received by the DA – National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB) from the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) Asia.
The plaque, which was granted during the 2022 IFOAM – Goesan International Organic Expo held from September 30 to October 16, 2022 in South Korea, lauded the NOAB for its “visionary leadership and dedication to the progress of organic farming” and its “valuable cooperation and continuous support of International and regional organic events” in the Philippines.
With the Philippines earning international fame in the field of organic agriculture, Ampatuan emphasized the need to solidify this status by boosting the DA’s support for organic agriculture in the country.
He recommended allotting P2B out of the P10B Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) for organic rice production, P1B from the National Corn Program for organic corn and livestock feeds production, and P1B from the High Value Crops Development Program for organic vegetables production.
“Non-stop production of organic fish feeds will also be beneficial to the Philippine fisheries subsector.”
Ampatuan also reiterated that non-stop production of organic fish feeds will also be beneficial to the Philippine fisheries subsector.
Present during the opening ceremony of the 8th National Organic Agriculture Month were DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban, DA Assistant Secretary for Operations Arnel de Mesa, DA Assistant Secretary James Layug, DA-NOAP Director Bernadette San Juan, DA – Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards Director Vivencio Mamaril, and DA – Agricultural Training Institute Executive Director Remelyn Recoter.
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Chairman Allen Capuyan, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Lopez-De Leon, Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) Director Juanito Batalon, Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte Mayor Rommel Arnado, and other members of the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB) also graced the event.
The opening event featured a mini bazaar of local organic products, features on organic agriculture technologies and innovations, and an exhibit on the resource speakers for the upcoming National Organic Agriculture Congress, which will take place on November 8 to 10, 2022 at the University of Southern Mindanao in Kabacan, Cotabato.