Archive for April 4th, 2009

Alliance of Pangasinan LGUs for Sustainable Agriculture Formed

EFFORTS to convert more rice farms into organic farm sites is getting the much needed boost with an alliance of local government units (LGUs) within the first district of Pangasinan committing support to the Organic FIELDS program.

The seven members of the One Pangasinan Alliance of LGUs (OPAL) led by Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza formalized its commitment to promote organic farming, now being considered a key in achieving sustainable Philippine agriculture, in support of the Organic FIELDS Support Program (OFSP).

OFSP, a partnership project of the Department of Agriculture (DA) led by the Sec. Arthur C. Yap and the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) is being implemented by a consortium of nongovernment organizations led by the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and the La Liga Policy Institute (LLPI).

Alaminos City is one of the six pilot areas chosen by the proponents of the first phase of project, which is now in its final stage of implementation.

Because of the successful implementation of the OFSP in Alaminos City, with 150 farmers graduating from the Farmers’ Season-Long Training on Organic Farming, local chief executives of OPAL member-towns are convinced and want to join the go organic bandwagon to help their respective constituents, Braganza said.

According to Braganza, OPAL members have adopted organic farming as a key strategy in achieving sustainable agriculture in their respective localities, believing that through organic farming, farmers can increase their income, reduce production cost, and improve quality of life because of organic farming’s benefit to the health and environment.

“We have one common goal and that is to improve the quality of life of our people. Together, we can do it not only in our respective cities or municipalities, but the whole of Pangasinan,” Braganza said.

OPAL are LGUs of Western Pangasinan coming together to pool resources, combine capacities and complement comparative advantages, share lessons and experiences for local economic development

OPAL members led by their respective local chief executives include Alaminos City and the Municipalities of Agno led by Mayor Jose N. Pajeta, Jr., Anda led by Mayor Nestor B. Pulido, Bani led by Mayor Marcelo E. Navarro, Jr. Burgos led by Mayor Domingo A. Doctor, Jr., Mabini led by Mayor Carlito R. Reyes, and Sual led by Mayor John Rodney V. Arcinue.

Member LGUs of OPAL started working together since 1995 for the “Bayanihan 2020 Program for Sustainable Agriculture”.

Even before formally coming together, there are natural links in varying degrees among the members of OPAL due to the current agri-trading flow, Braganza said.

However, the LGU-NGO partnership project for the “Save the Lingayen Gulf” advocating for Sustainable Coastal Resource Management and the NGA-LGU-NGO-PO partnership project for Sustainable Organic Agriculture galvanized the partnership, Braganza added.

Among the challenges OPAL-members are faced with include job creation of business and job opportunities, economic growth and sustainable sources of incomes, attract investment in tourism, agriculture, as well as agro-processing.