• Organic farming gains ground

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    The Philippines now ranks fourth among the leading Asian countries in terms of land devoted to organic farming, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported Thursday.

    In her message at the opening ceremonies of the celebration of organic agriculture month, DA Undersecretary for Special Concerns Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said from the initial baseline data of 14,140 hectares in 2006, the DA-National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP) was able to devote an estimated area of 101,278 hectares to organic farming system.

    The Philippines now also has at least 40 locally certified farms and almost 50,000 practitioners and adopters of the program.

    This, Puyat said, enabled the country to reach last year’s production of 417,879 metric tons, more than 90 percent increase from 2010 production.

    “We have become one of the top-performing countries in organic agriculture since the country enacted the National Organic Agriculture Act in 2010,” Puyat said, adding that it is undeniable that more farmers are now shifting to organic farming and more consumers now prefer organic products.

    Earlier, the Department has identified at least 42 eligible local government units (LGUs) nationwide to acquire composting facilities that will further boost the practice of organic agriculture.

    DA-NOAP encourages the establishment of these facilities to increase crop production through the use of organic fertilizers and other farm inputs.

    The project will help farmers increase their income, as fertilizers used on their farms can now be sourced within their community at lesser cost.

    It also aims to lessen the dependence of farmers on chemical fertilizers, and other farm inputs will be reduced. It will also assist rural and urban communities in promoting environmental protection while producing safe food.

    A series of training on the operation of the composting facilities will be conducted in collaboration with the DA-Agricultural Training Institute after the signing of the memoranda of agreement among the DA-BSWM, DA regional offices, and LGUs.

    The partner LGUs have to meet a set of criteria for pre-establishment before the composting facilities will be awarded to them.

    Agriculture Secretary Processo Alcala authored the Organic Act of 2010, a law promoting 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 Aquino 3rd has declared the month of November of every year as the Organic Agriculture Month through Presidential Proclamation 1030, enjoining everyone to provide national focus on the importance of organic agriculture.

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