BAGUIO CITY – Farmers and local government officials from the Cordillera participated in the 14th National Organic Agriculture Congress held at the Atrium, Limketkai Center, Cagayan de Oro City last October 24-26, 2017.
The 14th NOAC advocated for the promotion and support for organic agriculture that is Science-based, Market-oriented, Adaptive, Responsive, and Transformative (SMART). It recognized the efforts and accomplishments of the Local Government Units (LGUs), individual farmers, farming families, farmer’s organizations, agricultural extension workers, and organic agriculture focal persons in this endeavor.
The other participants are organic farming practitioners from all regions of the country, various stakeholders, implementing agencies such as ATI, BAFS, BAI, PhilMECH, BSWM, BPI, AMAS BFAR, and BAR, partner agencies, local government units, and supporters of Organic Agriculture in the Philippines.
Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol together with Undersecretary and Alternate Chair and Permanent Representative to National Organic Agriculture Board, Usec. Bernadette Puyat and National Organic Agriculture Program Coordinator, Engr. Christopher Morales graced the prestigious event.
In his message, Secretary Piñol expressed the need to implement technology, financing, and marketing in the agriculture sector will improve the productivity of the people and will make sure that farmers and fisher folks will make money out of their efforts and sacrifices.
Moreover, he mentioned that technology in organic farming is needed. “The use of modern organic farming technology like the use of organic fertilizers and the use of organic bio control will result in greater productivity,” he said.
He also mentioned that the biggest problem in agriculture is financing which the present administration is trying to address by introducing the new program called Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA), allowing farmers to have access credit without collateral and with 6% interest annually. They are also working on a new scheme improving the equipment distribution program where the seeds that the government is giving will be transferred to credit system which will allow farmers to buy their own type of seeds that is appropriate for the type of soil and climate they have.
In the marketing aspect Piñol cited the TienDA, which was launched this year with the purpose of establishing a marketing system where consumers and producers are linked to reduce the price of farm produce while allowing farmers to earn more from their produce. “We will be doing this continuously until we will perfect the system likewise we are promoting the use of local agriculture products,” he stressed.
Piñol challenged the farmers to work on feeding the Filipino people first. “To you organic farmers, let’s talk to our congressmen and see what incentives we can offer to every farmer who embraces organic farming,” he said.
The Secretary assured his full commitment to organic farming, he will not stop moving around the country, he will not stop touching people’s lives because he knows that out there in the mountains of Misamis Oriental, in the mountains of Benguet, and in the mountains of Bukidnon there are still families waiting for the government to touch them, he concluded.
By Leny Mendoza