Posts Tagged ‘Medium Term Philippine Development Plan’

Going organic will make PHL agriculture stronger, better – Go Organic! Philippines

VARIOUS stakeholders stand to greatly benefit in terms of income, health and environment with the government’s push to make Philippine farms ‘organic’, advocates said.

While the benefits may not be immediately felt, Go OrganicPhilippines! stressed that the benefits of sustainable, organic and ecological agriculture will have a long and lasting effect that will ensure food self-sufficiency and make the agriculture sector stronger in the long run.

Go Organic! Philippines, a coalition of nongovernment organizations, citizens groups and organic farming advocates and individuals, issued the statement to debunk claims made by the top biotechnology expert of the Department of Agriculture (DA), that the country’s food security will be adversely affected by the passage of the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, thus the need for its thorough review by lawmakers.

The group was referring to a statement made by Dr. Saturnina Halos, head of the DA Biotechnology Advisory Team during a briefing on modern biotechnology for the members of the city council at Marco Polo Davao Hotel yesterday pursuing organic agriculture to the exclusion of other methods can impede the government program to improve crop production in the country.

“Let us study the legislative measure. If all farmers would go on organic agriculture, it would be difficult to ensure food security. Organic crops could yield less than the crops that undergo with technology,” the report quoted Halos as saying.

Roland Cabigas, a convenor of Go Organic! Philippines and managing director of the private think tank la Liga Policy Institute (La Liga) said the law merely seeks to promote organic farming to veer away from the excessive use of chemical inputs that continue to pollute the soil, air and water.

Cabigas said the Philippines is in fact on the right track in promoting organic farming, which is backed by the measure and its implementing rules and regulation.

“Nothing can be safer than producing our food naturally,” Cabigas said.

Cabigas said research and development should focus on how to improve food production, particularly rice, less those often harmful chemicals which make farms addicted to fertilizers to be productive.

The law and its implementing rules and regulation, Cabigas added, addresses the issues and concerns raised by various stakeholders in the organic agriculture subsector, such as funding support for the DA’s various organic farming programs that build on past gains and experiences initiated by the government in partnership with Go Organic! Philippines and other NGOs and citizens’ groups, to produce ‘safer and healthier” food.

For his part, Dr. Oscar B. Zamora, an agriculture expert and a convenor of Go Organic! Philippines representing the academe stressed that reductions in yield in shifting from conventional to organic farming is normally experienced only on the first to the second years, depending on how poisoned and degraded the soil and crop environment are.

He even noted that there are farmers in Baras, Rizal and Tayabas, Quezon who reported that their yields and income increased after shifting to organic farming.

“Usually on the third year onwards, increases in yields begins after the soil and environment have already recovered from poisoning caused by excessive use of chemical fertilizers, as well as pesticides,” Zamora, currently the dean of Graduate School at the University of the Philippines Los Baños College said.

Organic farming advocates back DA’s organic farming program – Sustainable, organic and ecological agriculture for PHL pushed

ORGANIC farming advocates are pitching calls to incorporate programs that promote sustainable, organic and ecological agriculture in the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) for 2011-2016 as part of the government’s over-all anti-poverty strategy.

Roland Cabigas, a convenor of Go Organic! Philippines and managing director of the private think tank La Liga Policy Institute (La Liga) said Pres. Benigno Aquino III should take the lead in pushing for the adoption of a sustainable, organic and ecological agriculture as a climate change action strategy in view of the unfavorable weather conditions triggered by climate change, such as La Nina, which causes massive landslides and severe flooding and El Nino, which causes agricultural drought.

Both La Nina and El Nino adversely affect the country’s food production output, thereby seriously threatening the country’s food security targets.

Sustainable, organic and ecological agriculture, according to Cabigas, promotes broad based growth thru food and nutrition security and increases in income of farmers, while as a climate change action strategy, it prepares the Philippines, which remains largely agricultural from the vagaries and reversals caused by climactic changes,

“It also addresses our vulnerability to climate change, hence, creating an improved policy environment coupled with investment priority for sustainable, organic and ecological agriculture, can actually be one of Pres. Aquino’s legacies.

Together with its partner nongovernment organizations and people’s organizations under the “Caucus to Green the MTPDP”, La Liga came up with and submitted a paper enlisting a number of recommendations to the DA.

Entitled “Adopting Sustainable, Organic and Ecological Agriculture as a Priority Strategy for Broad Based Growth”, the paper is pushing for the adoption of a sustainable, organic and ecological agriculture framework by the Aquino administration as a national strategy to boost farmers’ income, increase food productivity, while making the agriculture sector more resilient to climate change.

Cabigas added that apart from contributing to agricultural productivity, sustainable, organic and ecological agriculture minimizes health risks of farmers who are repeatedly exposed to toxic and hazardous materials resulting from conventional chemical intensive farming practices.

Further, he said making available agricultural products of ecologically-sound food production practices also promote over-all food and nutrition security of the country, citing for instance, a shift to unpolished rice can have an immediate impact on the rice stock consequently rice self sufficiency targets of the country.

Cabigas said estimated loss due to milling, when shifting to unpolished rice, is reduced by 20 percent.  SOE agriculture products are also healthier since it does not use chemical inputs.

“Organic farming can contribute to developing an export niche for the country’s agricultural produce given the growing global demand for organic and organically grown products.

Organic Agri IRR to institutionalize funding for organic agri programs, projects – La Liga

The implementing rules and regulation of Republic Act 10068 otherwise known as the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 will institutionalize funding for the country’s organic agriculture programs and projects once effectively put in place and implemented.

This was stressed by Go Organic! Philippines convenor Roland Cabigas, who called on the approval by the congressional oversight committee on agriculture and fisheries modernization of the proposed IRR which was signed and submitted by Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alacala to the agriculture committees of the Philippine Senate headed by Senator Francis Pangilinan and the House of Representative led by Batangas 4th District Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza early this month.

Cabigas, managing director of La Liga Policy Institute (La Liga) which acts as the secretariat of the Environment Cluster of the Alternative Budget Initiative said Rule 25.1 of the IRR states funds shall be allocated out of the 50 million appropriation for the promotion and development of organic fertilizer, “to support the coordination, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation, of the research, development and extension activities on the Organic Agriculture Program.”

On the other hand, Rule 25.2 states that: “The DA shall thereafter allocate the amount of at least 2% of its annual budget for the implementation of the Organic Agriculture Program.

La Liga was part of the technical working group composed of representatives from various national government line agencies led by the DA, local government units (LGUs) and citizens groups that crafted and refined the proposed IRR through nationwide consultations early this year.

“Under the proposed IRR, funding support for the promotion and development of organic agriculture becomes automatic,” Cabigas said.

He said that once approved by Congress, programs and projects geared towards the promotion and development of organic farming, will be sustained.  Such, he said, will promote the shift from conventional farming to more ecologically-sound food production practices that promotes low carbon development in agriculture.

A development policy research and advocacy nongovernment organization, La Liga has been calling for a more climate sensitive 2011 budget through increased budget allocation.  It is proposing for an additional P7.4 billion on top of Malacanang’s original budget proposal for the environment and natural resources sector of P13.1 billion, which will include the promotion and development of organic agriculture in the Philippines.

The IRR for RA 10068 is the first policy document under the Aquino administration that recognizes low carbon development path as a strategic framework in the promotion of Philippine agriculture.

Cabigas added that the IRR pushes for the promotion of organic agriculture as a framework and strategy that should guide the agricultural aspect of the new MTPDP currently being crafted by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

Republic Act 10068, otherwise known as the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, was signed into law on April 2010.

Pres. Aquino’s first 100 days

DA chief ok’s IRR for Organic Agri law; congressional ‘approval’sought

ADVOCATES of organic farming on Thursday hailed the signing of the implementing rules and regulation (IRR) for Republic Act 10068 which is expected to boost the promotion and development of ecologically-sound food production practices in the Philippines.

Roland Cabigas, a convenor of Go Organic! Philippines said the crafting of the IRR , which was signed by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, significantly marks Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s first 100 days in office.

The final IRR for RA 10068 has been submitted by the Department of Agriculture to the agriculture committees of the Philippine Senate headed by Senator Francis Pangilinan and the House of Representatives headed by Batangas 4th District Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza last week.  The proposed IRR will be reviewed by the congressional oversight committee on agricultural and fisheries modernization.

Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza, a convenor of Go Organic! Philippines echoed Cabigas’ sentiment, saying it is considered a key reform achievement of the Aquino administration in promoting sustainable agriculture and food self-sufficiency for the country.

Branganza, concurrently the secretary general of the League of Cities of the Philippines, pioneered local government initiative in support of organic farming through allocation of funds and resource mobilization directed towards the promotion and development of organic agriculture in Alaminos City.

The IRR for RA 10068 is the first policy document under the Aquino administration that recognizes low carbon development path as a strategic framework in the promotion of Philippine agriculture, Braganza said.

For his part, Cabigas, managing director of La Liga added that the IRR  pushes for the promotion of organic agriculture as a framework and strategy that should guide the agricultural aspect of the new Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) currently being crafted by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) for 2011-2016.

La Liga, a development policy research and advocacy nongovernment organization is a member of Go Organic! Philippines, which implemented the Organic FIELDS Support Program (OFSP) last year.  OFSP is a national program which aims to promote the shift from conventional to organic farming.

“The crafting of the IRR for RA 10068 is a clear demonstration of the new DA administration’s resolve to cause a shift from conventional farming to organic agriculture, Cabigas said.

La Liga was part of the technical working group composed of line agencies of different departments headed by DA and citizens’ groups that crafted and refined the IRR.

Republic Act 10068, otherwise known as the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, was signed into law on April 2010.

According to Cabigas, more importantly, the IRR aims to address the perennial problem confronting progressive legislation about the absence of funding support, by allocating at least 2% of the annual DA budget for organic agriculture programs and projects.

“This will ensure the sustainable development of organic agriculture through the automatic appropriations from the DA’s annual budget certain percent for organic farming,” Cabigas said.

Further, Cabigas said the IRR provides for a transition period for the equal application of first, second and third party certification for organic agricultural produce.

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