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Joint seminar to further boost organic agriculture in PHL held

By Loraine D. Cerillo - Project Development Officer II
December 07, 2015

The Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS) and the National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP) recently conducted a joint seminar on Quality Standards, Certification and Registration of Organic Soil Amendments to further boost organic agriculture in the country.

BSWM Director Silvino Tejada said there is a strong need for the country to establish a cost-efficient, competitive and sustainable agricultural production system that is in harmony with nature.

“This is because of the alarming effects brought by climate change and other natural occurrences due to the man’s improper management of nature that has continuously devastated Mother Earth,” Tejada said at the seminar which was held as part of the celebration of the 1st Organic Agriculture Month.

President Benigno Aquino III has declared the month of November every year as the Organic Agriculture Month through Presidential Proclamation No. 1030 which encourages everyone to provide focus on the importance of organic agriculture.

The activity aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of the local government units, farmers’ organizations, State Universities and Colleges and non-government organizations NGOs to produce quality standard organic fertilizers to help them become commercial organic fertilizer producers.

The Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, authored by Secretary Alcala during his tenure as Quezon congressman, 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.

The said law states that organic certification is mandatory. Organic fertilizer producers who claim their inputs are “organic” must have their products certified by the Philippine National Standards (PNS) and labeled and sold as “organic” or “organically produced.”

The seminar also aims to reduce the dependence of farmers on chemical fertilizers to further promote environmental protection while producing safe food for the consumers.

The broadening of the standards and certification will not just reward existing organic agriculture practitioners but will also provide incentives to farmers who will shift to sustainable, organic and ecological agriculture to help achieve the 5 percent target or 483,539.65 hectares to be converted to organic agriculture.

The National Organic Agriculture Program reported that the Philippines has become one of the top performing countries in organic agriculture since the country enacted the national organic act in 2010.

The Philippines is now at 4th rank among the leading Asian countries in terms of land devoted to organic agriculture from the initial baseline data of 14.140 hectares in 2006.

The NOAP was able to devote an estimated area of 101,278 hectares to organic farming system according to IFOAM 2015 report.

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