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DA-8 embarks on intensified promotion of organic farming in East Visayas

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
December 3, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Department of Agriculture Regional Office 8 has embarked an intensified campaign to promote organic farming in Eastern Visayas.

The DA is wasting no time in advocating the program as mandated under Republic Act (RA) 10068 otherwise known as Organic Agriculture Act of 2010.  The law provides for the development and promotion of organic agriculture in the country to increase productivity, reduce environmental degradation, cut expenses on imported farm inputs, and protect the health of farmers, consumers and the general public.

No less than Agriculture Regional Executive Director Antonio G. Gerundio led the organic farming promotion as he exhorted the local government partners in the provinces of  partners  in the provinces of Southern Leyte and Biliran “to go back to the basics” through organic farming.

“There is now a global or worldwide trend to re-embrace the natural farming system due to prevalence of synthetically compounded fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives that excessively harm the environment,” RED Garundio said.

RED Gerundio made the call to the participants composed of local chief executives, municipal agriculturists, agricultural technologists and other key partners who attended the Orientation and Briefing on the Organic Agriculture Program (OAP) held in Maasin City, Southern Leyte and Almeria, Biliran on November 24 and 25, 2011, respectively.

“We have ‘bad habits’ formed during the Green Revolution” in the 1960s. But we can not blame anyone because at that time the world was faced with an emerging food shortage due to rapid population increase. Hence, the world resorted to science to develop high yielding varieties in the hope of meeting the global food requirements.  But high yielding varieties also require high application of inorganic fertilizer, pesticides and artificial enhancers that significantly contributes to environmental destruction. It was proven that chemicals destroy soil micro-organisms resulting in poor soil structure and aeration, thus decreasing nutrient availability,” Director Gerundio explained.

The briefing paved the way to initially orient the participants on the program and to organize provincial and municipal/city Local Technical Committees for the OAP. It will be patterned from the composition of the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB) which is composed of representatives from the DA, DILG, DENR, DAR, DOST, DTI, DepEd, DOH, small farmers organizations, NGO, the academe, and the private sector/agribusiness firms.

Each member-agency/sector will have an important role to plan in order to successfully carry out various activities under the program, RED Gerundio said.

Also present as resource speakers during the activity were OAP Regional Focal Person Engr. Melecia C. Gordillo, OAP support staff and DA-8 Executive Assistant Mr. Onisimo C. Paduano, Eastern Visayas Organic Agriculture Network Chair and VSU Dean Dr. Edwin A. Balbarino, and Ms Ma. Elena A. Mendoza, LGU Ormoc City Marketing Division chief.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines organic farming as a production system that avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetically compounded fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives.

Organic farming systems rely on crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, legumes, green manures, off-farm organic wastes, and aspects of biological pest control to maintain soil productivity and tilt, support plant nutrients and control insects, weeds and other pests.

The DA in coordination with its LGU-partners will be conducting similar orientation briefing in other provinces in the region before the year ends, Mr. Francis Rosaroso, DA-8 chief information officer said.