By Jennifer C. Tilos
The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Central Visayas has urged farmer groups and even the youth to support its organic farming program.
During the 4th Regional Organic Agriculture Congress held here, Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Executive Director Salvador Diputado of DA and Governor Roel Degamo, both rallied for support to organic farming.
They also expressed their commitment and full support to the organic agriculture program especially in providing product inputs and stechnical support to the farmers to increase their harvests and sales.
Over this, the officials challenged farmer-participants to come up with some proposals, for the department to address their adoption to organic agriculture concerns.
The DA believes this will help in the improvement of farm produce but also to engage young farmers to be aware of the viability and for them to promote the development and the spreading of organic agricultural practices.
Felipe Apale, regional organic focal person said the congress aimed to provide updates and share technology to the farmers to promote organic agriculture.
At the gathering of farmers, producers and stakeholders, the department trained participants about the low cost production in organic farming, its health benefits and the advantages of producing healthy farm crops which are uncontaminated by synthetic chemicals, Apale said.
He highlighted on the advantage of producing organic food which are healthy food, one that sells high and which the youth can be encouraged to adopt.
“There are chemical residues in our food that bring harmful effects to our health, Apale added.
We are now trying to teach the young to eat healthy food and in so doing, also help protect also the environment,” Apale said.
In the Philippine organic farming 2017 data, from the total target of converting about 7 percent of its farms to organic food prduction areas, the country has attained 5.6 percent, said Sharmaine Sabandana of the National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP).
She also noted that “In different regions, we have champion commodities like organic rice or colored rice, cacao, high value crops, organic vegetables with value added products that are being produced like organic soap, shampoo, cosmetics and many more.”
Production of organic rice as a champion commodity is promising, because [demand is increasing so] production is increasing, she added.
All local government units (LGUs) are encouraged to support the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 to apportion five percent of the total agricultural areas to be converted into organic farms.