BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Agriculture (DA-CAR) launched the back-to-back celebration of the National Rice Awareness Month (NRAM) and the Organic Agriculture Month (OAM).
During the flag raising ceremony Wednesday morning, November 2, 2022, DA-CAR Regional Executive Director Cameron Odsey emphasized heirloom rice as one of the major commodities in the region and also shared how DA-CAR promotes organic agriculture.
“We have a commodity called heirloom rice. In the past, we can call it organically produced during the times when there is no synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. We call that ‘de facto organic.’ This rice fed our ancestors in times of good harvest, calamities, and pestilence. While our community still produces heirloom rice, it is not enough even to feed those in the community. And we are trying to promote heirloom rice and hope at least it will be sufficient to feed the majority,” Odsey said.
“The greater challenge to us in the agriculture department is to push organic commodity precisely. We promote it such that it would be able to support the maximum that it can feed in our communities, and if there’s extra, collect it through the cooperatives and sell it at a higher price,” Odsey added.
He also shared the importance of using natural bioindicators, such as loach or jojo, in organic agriculture.
“Reviving the presence of loach in our rice terraces is a suitable combination with organic agriculture because these are very good indicators of the presence of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. It’s a good way of promoting organic agriculture,” Odsey explained.
NRAM, with the theme “Be RICEponsible,” aims to achieve food security to improve the income of farmers and to promote better health among rice consumers.
On the other hand, OAM, with the theme “Maunlad na Pagsasaka, Garantisado sa Organikong Agrikulturang Sinaliksik,” serves as an avenue to heighten the region’s advocacy on organic agriculture programs and technologies, breeding to the further advancement of OA in the region.
NRAM and OAM celebration is in line with the Presidential Proclamation Nos. 524-2004 and 1030-2015, respectively. By JBPeralta