PHL ranks 4th in Asia in land devoted to organic agriculture

By Cielito M. Reganit

MANILA, Nov. 12 (PNA) — The Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP) on Thursday said that the Philippines now ranks fourth among the leading Asian countries in terms of land devoted to organic agriculture.

Agriculture Undersecretary for Special Concerns Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that from the initial baseline data of 14,140 hectares in 2006, the NOAP was able to devote an estimated 101,278 hectares to organic farming system.

The figures are contained in the International Foundation for Organic Agriculture (IFOAM ) 2015 report.

“Since the inception of the program in 2012, the DA has been actively promoting the adaption of organic farming in the country. According to the latest statistics, it is undeniable that more farmers are now shifting to organic farming and more consumers now prefer organic products,” Romulo-Puyat said.

“With this development, the Philippines now ranks as the 4th leading organic country in Asia,” she said.

Incidentally, Agriculture Secretary Processo J. Alcala was the main author of the Organic Act of 2010, a law which promotes the development and promotion of organic agriculture in the Philippines.

The law intends to promote, propagate, develop, and further implement the practice of organic agriculture in the country to improve soil fertility, increase farm productivity, reduce farm-source pollution, further protect the health of the farmers, consumers, and the general public, as well as save on imported farm inputs.

President Benigno S. Aquino III has also declared the month of November of every year as the Organic Agriculture Month thru Presidential Proclamation No. 1030, enjoining everyone to provide national focus on the importance of organic agriculture.

Romulo-Puyat said that in support of Proclamation No. 1030, the regional offices of DA will be conducting activities that promote organic agriculture such as organic trade fairs, regional organic congresses, and a series of school on the air programs about organic farming.

Likewise, the Department of Education will spearhead a national poster making and essay writing contest to highlight the importance of organic agriculture.

Meanwhile, the celebration of Organic Agriculture Month will culminate in the 12th National Organic Agriculture Congress (NOAC) in Bacolod City on November 25-27, 2015.

The DA official said that this year’s NOAC, with the theme “Halin Talamnan Tubtob Kalan-an” or “Farm to Table,” focuses on the importance of understanding the organic agriculture supply chain and helping our organic farmers build linkages with the consumers.

The NOAP will also honor the top performers in organic agriculture through the National Organic Agriculture Achievers’ Awards during the said festivities.

“Major industry players, including farmer producers/practitioners, operators of organic establishments, researchers, educators, policy makers and other industry enthusiasts will get together during the NOAC. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about organic agriculture and share related experiences,” Romulo-Puyat said. (PNA)