WM to play key role in Nat’l Organic Agriculture Program PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 17 August 2013 11:41

Region 9 could play a key role in the implementation of the National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP) which aims to convert five percent of the country’s agricultural area into organic farms by 2016.

“Bringing back organic farming in this region is not impossible because the heart of the people here is already organic,” said Emalyn Legal, one of the members of the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB).

The NOAB has recently conducted site inspection of organic farms here in the Zamboanga Peninsula area.

A total of 10 farms which are proponents of the organic agriculture program were visited and inspected by the NOAB, Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standard (BAFPS), and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech).

Proponents were the Jose Rizal Memorial State University in Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte; Paglinawan’s Organic Farm in Dumingag, Zamboanga Del Sur; Miligan Organic Farm in Molave, Zamboanga Del Sur; Ace Agri Farm in Kagawasan, Pagadian City; Organic Swine Production in Dumalinao, Zamboanga Del Sur; Betinan Research Station in Zamboanga Del Sur; Sibugay Valley Organic Farmers Producers Association; Dominican Sisters’ Farm in Culianan, Zamboanga City; San Ramon Techno Demo Farm in Talisayan, Zamboanga City; and the Vista Del Mar Organic Garden in Upper Calarian district here.

Aside from Legal, the inspection team is composed of Dr. Jose Balaoing, another representative from NOAB; Tess Dimaculangan and Jude Auditor from BAFPS; Don David Julian and Clavel Olito of PhilMech; and the organic agriculture program team of the Department of Agriculture (DA) headed by regional focal person Priscilla Jover.

NOAB is the policy-making body that provides direction and guidelines for the implementation of the National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP).

The NOAP envisions the organic agriculture sector contributing to the over-all agriculture growth and development of the country in terms of sustainability, competitiveness and food security, where at least five percent of Philippine agricultural area will be converted into organic farms in 2016.

Joie Faustino, the Planning Development Officer and representative from the office of DA Undersecretary Bernadette Puyat, stressed that it is possible in the region to achieve the five percent target before 2016 because many residents are already into organic farming.

Jover explained to farmers that shifting to organic farming may be difficult in the first stage but the effect it brings is lifetime.

“In organic farming, we are not after of the profit but of the good effect it gives us. We are not saving ourselves here but the life of the soil where we plant our livelihood and where our plants depend to live,” said Balaoing, also a professor at Benguet State University.

Under the law, Balaoing said organic agriculture should be included in the curriculum in elementary, high school and college.

If and when organic agriculture is fully implemented and duly practiced, Balaoing said the environment would be better enjoyed and offer more for the next generation.