Alfonso, Cavite – CAR bagged 8 outstanding performance awards in the practice of organic agriculture during the 16th National Organic Agriculture Congress on November 12 to 15, 2019. The theme was “Organikong Agrikultura sa Kumikitang Kabuhayan para sa Kalusugan at Kapaligiran.”
Out of the 10 categories, 8 awards were brought home by the region. The five winners were Catherine Buenaventura from Ifugao for Provincial Focal Person Award; Jennifer Dulnuan from Ifugao for the Agricultural Extension Worker Award; Marsan Family from Benguet for the Farming Family Category; Teresa Sacley from Benguet for the Young Farmer Award; and, for the Research Category, Belinda Tad-awan, Hector Gayomba, Teresita Masangcay, Jasmin Chomawat, Wilner Maunting, Virginia Tapat, and Magdalena Wanawan won with their research entitled, “Increasing Productivity and Value of Heirloom Rice Landraces in the Cordillera Highlands through Variety Evaluation and Organic Production Technologies.” There were three (3) citations given which include Ifugao for the Provincial Category; Jeffrey Sotero for the Municipal Focal Category and Romeo Kimbungan for the Individual Farmer Category.
Alfonso, Cavite Mayor Salamat said that the products consumed should be of the highest quality. “Walang tatalo sa mga pagkaing gawang natural.” He stated. “Kaya sinusulong namin ang Organic Agriculture di lamang sa mga matatanda kung hindi pati na din sa mga batang magsasaka.”
DA Secretary William Dar reported that organic agriculture in the Philippines has risen by 2.81%. “Despite various problems in the Philippines such as overpopulation and poor soil nutrition, we are able to increase the status of agriculture in the country.”
“There are already 165,958 practitioners of organic agriculture to date. It is expected to increase to 233,100 by 2023. Organic production of our country is 559,062 metric tons monthly targeting 756,300 MT by 2023,” as reported by Christopher Morales, Organic Program Coordinator.
He emphasized three strategies for the development of organic agriculture, namely: “Strengthening of the organizational structure, harmonization and localization of plans, and enhancement of monitoring and evaluation mechanism; Prioritization of interventions to marginalized groups, IP communities, and small farmers; and, Provision of technical support services to families and communities in swamp areas,”
With these interventions, Senator Cynthia Villar emphasized the importance of industry and camaraderie in the Philippines. “Buhay ay gaganda kapag sipag ang sandata,” she said. With the experiences shared by the best organic agriculturists, the farmers are hoping to apply these facts, information, and insights to produce high-quality and cost-effective products to feed the nation with safe and organic food. //DA-CAR RAFIS