Posts Tagged ‘Organic Farming’

‘Don’t touch proposed budget for organic agri’ – group asks lawmakers

BUDGET activists are throwing their support behind the proposed National Expenditure Program (NEP) submitted by Malacanang through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for the DA’s 2012 budget for organic agriculture which they said will help boost organic farming in the Philippines.

Roland Cabigas, managing director of the La Liga Policy Institute (La Liga) and a convenor of Go Organic! Philippines said as far as the push for organic farming is concerned, the DA’s proposed budget for 2012 is laudable.

Under the NEP for 2012, the DA’s budget this year of P37.4 billion will increase to almost P50 billion, P927.2 million of which is for the promotion of organic agriculture in the Philippines.

The amount, Cabigas said, will greatly boost organic farming in the Philippines which promotes environment-friendly food production practices which the country needs to invest in to help cut its carbon footprint and help address the challenge of climate change.

Such budget, he said, should be used to provide various support services, training, research and development, marketing and packaging assistance, including subsidy to farmers who will shift to sustainable organic and ecological agriculture to boost the country’s organic industry.

Cabigas added that the increase in budget also means additional  resources  for  a comprehensive effort to educate and push a for shift  to organic lifestyle among urban consumers  which buys  the bulk of agricultural commodities that come from  the rural areas.

Resource mobilization and the efficient utilization of government resources for agricultural development is part of the overall campaign to achieve food and staple sufficiency within the term of Pres. Aquino.

“We appeal to our honorable members of Congress not to touch the proposed budget for the DA’s organic agriculture program and support organic farming by approving the new budget line item as proposed in the NEP for 2012,” Cabigas said.

Cabigas lauded the DA led by Sec. Proceso Alcala, an organic farming practitioner himself, for being faithful to his commitment to support the push to have a separate budget line item exclusively for organic agriculture as reflected in the NEP 2012.

La Liga, which acts as the convening organization of the Alternative Budget Initiative – Environment Cluster (ABI-Envi Cluster), believes that organic farming promotes sustainable, organic and ecological agriculture consistent with the AgriPinoy program of Pres. Aquino.

As part of its budget advocacy, La Liga which took part in the crafting of the implementing rules and regulation of Republic Act 10068 otherwise known as the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 pushed for the provision mandating the DA to allocate at least 2 percent of its annual budget exclusively for the implementation of organic agriculture programs.

The campaign for the shift to sustainable organic and ecological agriculture and its funding is consistent with La Liga’s call for a more climate sensitive 2012 budget which calls for increased public investment for environment-friendly way of doing agriculture.

A development policy research and advocacy nongovernment organization, La Liga is aggressively promoting organic farming in the Philippines.  In 2009, La Liga and the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) led a network of citizens’ groups, academic institutions, local government units and the private sector under the banner Go Organic! Philippines in implementing the Organic FIELDS Support Program (OFSP).

The program popularized organic farming in six provinces in Luzon, wherein 600 farmers who completed a season’s long training, a major component of the program, are now practicing and teaching other farmers how to go organic.

Through its partner-LGUs under the One Pangasinan Alliance of LGUs (LGUs), La Liga was able to institutionalize local funding in support of organic farming, particularly in Western Pangasinan.

In Pangasinan, La Liga is implementing the Organikong Palayan – Pangasinan in partnership with the DA Regional Field Unit 1 and the local government units of Alaminos City, Bani, Burgos and Dasol.as part of the DA’s overall strategy of attaining food and staple sufficiency within the term of Pres. Aquino.

The program takes off from the various “organic” initiatives of the participating LGUs with the hope of encouraging more farmers to shift to sustainable organic and ecological agricultural model and veer away from the conventional agricultural model that is highly dependent on often harmful petroleum-based chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Under Organikong Palayan – Pangasinan, a total of 280 farmers will also undergo season-long training on organic farming of rice in eight learning farms, two learning farms for each of the project areas, to be put up for the purpose.

Cabigas stressed that Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, Republic Act 10068 recognizes the urgency of shifting to a sustainable organic and ecological agriculture model to increase rice production and productivity in the long run, boost farmers’ income, promote better health for farmers and consumers and increase soil fertility by arresting the degradation of the environment.

Pangasinan mayors vow funding support for organic agriculture program

FOUR local chief executives in Pangasinan vowed to institutionalize funding in support of the shift to sustainable organic and ecological food production model in the province.

Alaminos Mayor City Hernani A. Braganza, Bani Mayor Marcelo Navarro Burgos Mayor Alberto Guiang and Dasol Mayor Noel Nacar vowed to ask local legislators in their respective city and municipalities to integrate funds for organic farming in the annual investment plan for 2012 .

Alaminos, Bani, Burgos and Dasol are project partners in the Organikong Palayan – Pangasinan of the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Unit 1 being implemented by the La Liga Policy Institute (La Liga).

Roland Cabigas, managing director of La Liga lauded the four local chief executives in taking the lead in promoting sustainable organic and ecological agriculture in their respective localities, noting that the failed promises of the prevailing agricultural model that is heavily dependent on agro-chemicals necessitates such commitment and support.

 “Crucial to all these initiatives to promote organic farming is the need to integrate funding support in the annual investment plans of individual LGUs,” he said.

Organikong Palayan – Pangasinan is consistent with the food staple sufficiency goals of the DA and Pres. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino’s Agri-Pinoy program, Cabigas said.

In Alaminos City, Braganza, said organic farming has always been a part of the city’s investment priorities.  He said organic farming offers a solution to the woes of resource-poor farmers whose income is limited by the skyrocketing cost of petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides.

“Slowly, more and more farmers are realizing the need to shift to a more environmentally-sound food production practice and model,” he added.

Sustainable organic and ecological agriculture is consistent with the city’s 10-point agenda to boost the city’s tourism industry, which is anchored on protecting the environment and natural resources.  Alaminos is home to the Hundred Island National Park (HINP).

The same way, Navarro said going organic supports his vision of making Bani a model “Green City” by 2020.

For his part, Guiang said farmers in Burgos will greatly benefit through the season-long training component of the project, wherein organic fertilizer production forms an important part of.

“Learning how to produce their own organic fertilizer will help farmers become less dependent and more self-reliant,” he stressed.

Nacar, who is now president of the League of Mayors in Pangasinan pointed out that Dasol, whose salt industry is largely dependent on its pristine waters, requires the limited application of chemical fertilizers so as to prevent pollution, apart from making food staple production economically viable.

He urged Pangasinan’s local chief executives to initiate similar programs as a way of offering farmers alternative ways of doing business in agriculture that is safer to both food producers and consumers, and friendly to the environment.

The four Pangasinan mayors recently signed a memorandum of agreement with La Liga’s managing director expressing their commitment and support to the project.  La Liga, for its part, will also provide counterpart fund for the implementation of the project.

It will be recalled that DA Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and DA Region 1 Regional Executive Director Renato A. Maguigad last week led the launching of Organikong Palayan – Pangasinan” as part of the strategy of attaining food and staple sufficiency within the term of Pres. Aquino.

The program takes off from the various “organic” initiatives of the participating LGUs with the hope of encouraging more farmers to go organic.

A total of 280 farmers will also undergo season-long training on organic farming of rice in eight learning farms, two learning farms for each of the project areas, to be put up for the purpose.

La Liga, which is aggressively promoting organic farming in the Philippines, said Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, Republic Act 10068 recognizes the urgency of shifting to a sustainable organic and ecological agriculture model, to increase rice production and productivity, boost farmers’ income, promote better health for farmers and consumers and increase soil fertility by arresting the degradation of the environment.

DA-LGUs-La Liga launch ‘Organikong Palayan’ in Pangasinan

The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Friday formally set in motion a one-year program to promote the shift from conventional to organic rice production models in four pilot areas in the province of Pangasinan.

DA Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and DA Region 1 OIC Regional Executive Director Renato A. Maguigad led the launching of the program dubbed “Organikong Palayan – Pangasinan” during simple rites in Alaminos City.

The project will be implemented by the La Liga Policy Institute (La Liga) in partnership with the local government units of Alaminos City and the municipalities of Burgos, Bani and Dasol.

Local chief executives of the four LGUs namely Mayor Hernani A. Braganza, Mayor Marcelo Navarro (Bani), Mayor Alberto Guiang (Burgos) and Mayor Noel Nacar  (Dasol) have committed to promoting sustainable, organic and ecological agriculture in their respective localities as a strategy in pursuing local economic development.

A member of Go Organic! Philippines, La Liga aggressively promotes organic farming in the Philippines.  La liga managing director Roland Cabigas said  the program is part of the DA’s strategy of attaining food and staple sufficiency within the term of Pres. Aquino.

Cabigas said the rice subsector alone employs around four million farmers and farm workers.  Land planted to rice covers approximately 40 per cent of the total land cultivated, or approximately 4 million hectares of the 10 million hectares of land devoted to food production.  However, despite its (rice) significance, the Philippines is a rice-importing country.

 “Clearly, a concerted effort to increase rice productivity is imperative. This is the challenge faced by sustainable agriculture,” Cabigas stressed.

He said different studies on agricultural productivity specifically on rice production cited numerous reasons from a plagued policy environment to dwindling public investments in agriculture as the reason for the poor performance of the rice sub sector.

“This exposes the fact that the gains and promises of rice productivity of the prevailing production model have been short lived. A shift in production methods and systems is crucial to achieving the country’s rice self-sufficiency and food security goals,” he said.

The DA secretary, during the launch, ordered the RFU 1 to ensure the timely release of the progam’s fund for various activities which aims to enhance the capacities, provide production support, and to institutionalize programs and budget for the promotion of sustainable agriculture among participating LGUs, in line with the Agri-Pinoy Program of the DA.

Braganza, a convenor of Go Organic! Philippines, said the program takes off from the various “organic” initiatives of the participating LGUs with the hope of encouraging more farmers to go organic.

Also the secretary general of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), Braganza hopes that the benefits of such program on organic farming will radiate in other cities and municipalities in Pangasinan and the Ilocos Region.

La Liga expects the project to be replicated in other towns of Pangasinan and the Ilocos Region, in view of the province`s role as one of the leading agricultural commodity producers in the country.

The DA Secretary was in Alaminos City as guest of honor of the event dubbed “Farmer – Fisherfolk Assembly held at the Alaminos Sports Center, wherein the country’s food czar presided  the rolling out of  DA projects for the province of Pangasinan, one of which is the Organikong Palayan.

The DA is promoting responsible consumption and production to achieve food self-sufficiency.  Aside from the production of brown rice, it is also promoting the cultivation of white corn, sweet potato or commonly called camote, and cassava, or more popularly called balinghoy in the Visayas or kamoteng kahoy in Luzon.

 “Organikong Palayan – Pangasinan” seeks to promote organic farming as mandated by Republic Act 10068 – in this case, rice in the four pilot areas.  Through the project, proponents aim to encourage the shift to sustainable agriculture practices among farmers, mobilize support from local governments in terms of policies, programs, and promote sustainable agriculture as a key strategy for local economic development.

Through the project, farmers will be mobilized through barangay assemblies, targeting a total of 1,400 farmers, to rally support behind the DA’s sustainable, ecological agriculture initiative.

A total of 280 farmers will also undergo season-long training on organic farming of rice in eight learning farms, two learning farms for each of the project areas, to be put up for the purpose.

Alaminos, Bani, Burgos and Dasol are located in Western Pangasinan and are members of the One Pangasinan Alliance of LGUs, an economic alliance that promotes resource sharing for local economic development.

Otherwise known as the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, Republic Act 10068 recognizes the urgency of shifting to an organic agriculture model to veer away from the excessive use of agrochemical inputs used in conventional farming systems.

Food self-sufficiency, nutrition security through sustainable organic agriculture pushed

ORGANIC farming advocates are pitching calls for food self-sufficiency and nutrition security through sustainable organic and ecological agriculture and back the decision of the Department of Agriculture to cut down rice importation to protect local rice farmers.

Roland Cabigas, managing director of the La Liga Policy Institute (La Liga) and a convener of Go Organic! Philippines said limiting the volume of imported rice and pushing for rice self-sufficiency is the way to go.

He issued the statement following DA Secretary Proceso Alcala’s optimistic projection that the DA may be further reducing the country’s rice import quota, and start exporting “brown rice” to other countries because of the projected increase in rice production this year owing to the favorable weather condition and various intervention of the government.

La Liga also supports the strategy to promote the production of brown rice, or unpolished rice, which reduces postharvest losses in palay to help increase rice production

However, Cabigas said more importantly, there is a need to boost rice production by encouraging more farmers to cultivate rice through the shift to sustainable, organic and ecological agriculture, veering away from the excessive use of expensive, and often harmful chemical fertilizers that prevents resource-poor farmers to do business in agriculture.

 “At a time when the country is still struggling to become rice self-sufficient, we need to protect farmers to make them more competitive,” Cabigas said.

La Liga nixes calls by some quarters to lift the quantitative restriction on rice which will allow the importation of rice by the private sector without limits.

With the quantitative restriction on rice in place, the importation of rice into the country is subject to a 40-percent tariff and duty-free importation is limited to a concessionary amount of only 360,000 metric tons a year.

The current extension of the quantitative restriction on rice is set to expire next year.

It was extended by seven years in 2005, after the expiration of a 10-year rice quota under Annex 5 of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement.

“As it is already, trade liberalization is killing the agriculture sector and taking away this level of protection will further weaken Philippine agriculture, particularly the rice subsector,” Cabigas said.

Cabigas added that once quantitative restriction on rice has been removed, there is no guarantee that regional and multilateral negotiations through the WTO to impose higher tariff on rice and other agricultural products, will favor developing countries like the Philippines, noting how “powerless” the ones with weaker economies appear to be in negotiating for fair trade against stronger economies.

La Liga said the Philippines should seek an extension of the country’s quantitative restriction on rice until 2015, while the government steps up programs to achieve rice self-sufficiency, and nutrition security, “rather than being food secured through massive rice imports.”

Cabigas said government intervention in agriculture and fishery is crucial to pump-priming the economy under globalization.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala is confident that the Philippines will achieve its target of becoming rice self-sufficient by 2013, noting that the Philippines has in fact reduced rice importation by two-thirds already in 2011 compared to 2009, when the Philippines landed on top of the list of rice-importing countries.

A development policy research and advocacy nongovernment organization, La Liga is pushing for sustainable organic and ecological agriculture in the Philippines and the production of ‘healthier’ food through organic farming.  It is aggressively supporting the shift from chemical-intensive farming to the more environment-friendly and low-carbon food, production practices in organic or natural farming, as well as organic way of life among consumers.

 “What we need is more time to level the playing field starting with being rice self-sufficient, first and foremost,” he said.

Along with the campaign to go organic, which will allow resource-poor farmers to do business by producing their own organic fertilizer which they will use; the campaign to produce and consume brown rice and food diversification, an effective information, education and communication campaign to promote responsible production and consumption, will also help do the trick, Cabigas said.

Rather than anchoring its hope on imported rice and other food products, Cabigas said the government should pour its resources in support of small farm holders, the backbone of Philippine agriculture, for them to become more productive and competitive.

La Liga Policy Institute pitches call for ‘food self-sufficiency, nutrition security’

THE La Liga Policy Institute (Liga) is pitching calls to promote food self-sufficiency and nutrition security through sustainable organic and ecological agriculture and nixes import dependence as a way of ensuring the country’s “food security.”

A member of Go Organic! Philippines, La Liga rejects the idea of lifting the quantitative restriction on rice by some quarters, saying that prematurely doing so at a time when the Philippines is still struggling to become rice self-sufficient, will do more harm than good to the economy.

Roland Cabigas, its managing director, said La Liga supports the call to seek an extension of the country’s quantitative restriction on rice until 2015, while the government steps up programs to achieve rice self-sufficiency, and nutrition security, rather than being food secured through massive imports.

He said government intervention in agriculture and fishery is crucial for broad based growth with equity and will allow the country compete under globalization.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala is confident that the Philippines will achieve its target of becoming rice self-sufficient by 2013, noting that it has in fact, reduced rice importation by two-thirds already in 2011 compared to 2009, when the Philippines landed on top of the list of rice-importing countries.

The quantitative restriction on rice prevents cheap, imported rice from flooding the local market.   The downside of lifting such import limit is the weakening of the agriculture sector and compromising the interest of our agricultural producers particularly the farmers, Cabigas stressed.

A development policy research and advocacy nongovernment organization, La Liga is pushing for sustainable organic and ecological agriculture in the Philippines and the production of ‘healthier’ food through organic farming.  It is aggressively supporting the shift from chemical-intensive farming to the more environment-friendly and low-carbon food production practices in organic or natural farming, as well as organic way of life among consumers.

With the quantitative restriction on rice in place, the importation of rice into the country is subject to a 40-percent tariff and duty-free importation is limited to a concessionary amount of only 360,000 metric tons a year.

The current extension of the quantitative restriction on rice is set to expire next year.

The restriction was extended by seven years in 2005, after the expiration of a 10-year rice quota under Annex 5 of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement.

“As it is already, trade liberalization is killing the agriculture sector and applying certain limit offers some level of protection to small farm holders,” Cabigas said.

Developing countries like the Philippines are unable to compete against highly developed countries that provide massive support to their agriculture sector even under liberalized trade, Cabigas said.

“What we need is more time to level the playing field starting with being rice self-sufficient, first and foremost,” he said.

According to Cabigas, the DA is on the right track in promoting sustainable organic and ecological agriculture, along with the campaign for the production and consumption of brown rice, and food diversification, which will help ease the pressure on rice.

He said an effective information, education and communication campaign to promote responsible consumption, such as eating less those often imported white rice or well-milled rice, and eating more the brown rice, white corn, and root crops such as sweet potato or commonly called camote and cassava, also known as kamoteng kahoy or balinghoy, will help do trick.

Rather than anchoring its hope on imported rice and other food products, Cabigas said the government should pour its resources in support of small farm holders, the backbone of Philippine agriculture, for them to become more productive and competitive.

Group supports DA promotion of unpolished rice production, consumption

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala found a strong ally in organic farming advocates in promoting unpolished rice to help achieve food self-sufficiency and security.

Roland Cabigas, managing director of the La Liga Policy Institute (La Liga) and a convenor of Go Organic!Philippines, believes in the wisdom of promoting brown rice, or unpolished rice, to help address the demand-supply gap in rice.

Cabigas said a change in the lifestyle and preference of the Filipino people, such as their eating habit, will be crucial in addressing the challenge of food self-sufficiency and security.

The cultivation of organic rice varieties, which do not require expensive and often harmful agrochemicals, to help boost productivity, particularly in upland areas and its consumption by the general public, will help reduce the country’s dependence on imported well-milled rice, Cabigas noted.

In partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) La Liga and Go Organic! Philippine simplemented the Organic Fields Support Program – Phase I in 2009, which promotes the organic farming of rice in six pilot areas in Luzon.

The country’s food czar, in encouraging northernLuzonfarmers to produce more brown rice, said producing brown rice will help reduce losses in the milling of palay by approximately 10% to 20%.

Processing palay into well-milled white grains requires large amounts of fuel and equipment, and machines occasionally damage the grains, he said.  This is not the case for unpolished rice which requires a less extensive milling process.

The recovery process for well-milled rice is only 65% while in unpolished or brown rice, it is 75% to 85%

La Liga and Go Organic!Philippinesis aggressively promoting organic farming in thePhilippinesand supports the cultivation of organic rice varieties.

“Unlike hybrid rice varieties, organic rice varieties do not easily spoil and are healthier, especially when they are under-milled,” Cabigas said.

Brown rice is under-milled rice, in that the husk, germ, and bran layers have been only partially removed.

Experts say that brown rice is rich in fibers, helps control blood sugar and cholesterol.  It is said to be a body building food and beneficial for stomach and intestinal ulcers and for diarrhea.  Brown rice is easily digested starch food.  Because of the mineral content, it supplies important nutrient for the hair, teeth, nails, muscles and bones.

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 law IRR promotes RP’s low carbon development

The implementing rules and regulation of Republic Act 10068 otherwise known as the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 will lead the country towards a low carbon development path with the shift from chemical intensive to ecologically-sound food production practices, organic farming advocates said.

Go Organic! Philippines, a network of organic farming advocates, issued the statement as various stakeholders will gather at the Queen Margaret Hotel in Lucena City, Quezon on November 16 to 18, 2010 for the 7th National Organic Agriculture Conference organized by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The La Liga Policy Institute (La Liga), a development policy research and advocacy nongovernment organization, which acts as the secretariat of the Go Organic! Philippines, is supporting the initiative to promote organic farming in the country.

Currently, La Liga and Go Organic! Philippines is pushing for Congress’ adoption of the proposed IRR for the organic agriculture law.  The final draft was signed by DA Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and was submitted 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.

Roland Cabigas, managing director of La Liga and a convenor of Go Organic! Philippines said under Rule 2.2 of the IRR states that: “Organic agricultural systems, in its goal to reduce environmental pollution and ecosystem destruction and, prevent the depletion of natural resources, shall endeavor to promote the low carbon development path and its strategies.”

Meanwhile, Rule 5.1 states that the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB), through the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standards (BAFPS) shall call upon all government agencies and instrumentalities, including the LGUs, academe, NGOs, Small Farmers Organizations (OSFO), Organic Farmers Organizations (OFOs), and RDE institutions, to submit their respective annual and long term Organic Agriculture plans taking into consideration climate change impact and mitigation, with emphasis on adaptation such as low carbon development path, disaster risk reduction and management, gender sensitive development, site specific ecosystem-based for consolidation and integration into a comprehensive National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP).

Such NOAP formulated by said agencies shall observe the principle of bottom-up, multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral participatory planning, monitoring and evaluation system.

On the other hand, Rule 13.2 states: “The adoption of organic agriculture through the implementation of NOAP projects and activities shall consider strategies to promote the low carbon development path.”

Low carbon development path is defined by the IRR as “growth that integrates positive impact on environment, minimizes if not eliminates green house gas emissions, taking into account long term sustainability.”

As part of its budget advocacy, La Liga is pushing for the country’s low carbon development through financing of specific climate change mitigation and adaptation measure.

A development policy research and advocacy nongovernment organization, La Liga also acts as secretariat of the Environment Cluster of the Alternative Budget Initiative (ABI) and has been calling for a more climate sensitive 2011 budget through increased budget allocation.  It is proposing for an additional P4.7 billion on top of Malacanang’s original budget proposal for the environment and natural resources sector of P13.1 billion.

With the support of the British Embassy in Manila, La Liga is also pushing for low carbon development through its integration in the next Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) for 2011-2016.

“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 said.

He 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.

Photo Release, October 14, 2010

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala (third from left) receives a framed photograph of different colored rice and varieties from convenors of Go Organic! Philippines as a token of appreciation for his support and commitment to promote organic farming during a recent dialogue at Panggo’s Grill and Restaurant on Timog Avenue, Quezon City.  In photo are (L-R) La Liga Policy Institute (La Liga) president Horacio “Boy” Morales, La Liga managing director Roland Cabigas, Alaminos City mayor Hernani Braganza, Agriculture undersecretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, and UPLB dean of Graduate School Oscar Zamora.  Alcala recently signed the  implementing rules and regulation for RA 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, institutionalizing funding support for organic agriculture programs and projects in the Philippines.

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