Food, nutrition security through organic farming pushed

SETTING the tone on how the new administration will address food security issues, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala recently met with organic farming advocates to assure them that sustainable agriculture and citizens’ participation will be given premium under his watch.

The meeting paved the way for organic farming advocates to pitch the call for the promotion of organic farming to help enhance food and nutrition security and produce safer and healthier food through organic farming.

“Safer and healthier food” means food grown without the aid of often harmful chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides used by most farmers in conventional farms.

Organic farming promotes sustainable agriculture, as it only makes use of natural plant growth and yield boosters, unlike conventional farming which is highly dependent on chemicals to fertilize the soil and protect crops from infestation.

Convenors of Go Organic! Philippines initiated the meeting with Alcala, during which the country’s food czar gave them an insight of the DA’s plans and programs.

Alcala, one of those who sponsored and pushed the passage of the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, also made known his intention to broaden partnership with citizens’ groups to help achieve food security, starting with the government’s thrust to become rice-self sufficient by 2013.

An organic farming practitioner, Alcala wants Philippine farms to go organic and to make farmers self-reliant by producing their own organic fertilizer and natural pesticides.

He wants farmers as well as citizens’ groups to take part in planning and implementing the DA’s programs to boost food production.

During the meeting, Go Organic! Philippines submitted its proposal for a project entitled Organikong Palayan: Enhancing Food and Nutrition Security through Organic, Sustainable Agriculture.  It is the group’s updated strategy and program promoting organic farming, which builds on the previous gains of the partnership project with the DA, the Organic Fields Support Program Phase I, which aims to make Philippine farms ‘organic’.

The proposed project endeavors to expand coverage to more farmers and farming communities through farmers’ season-long training and related research and development, Roland Cabigas, Managing Director of La Liga said.

“Essentially, the Organikong Palayan is a two-pronged approach.  First, it aims to promote sustainable agriculture to help achieve rice self-sufficiency in three years and put the Philippine agricultural sector along the path of a low carbon development,” Cabigas, also a convenor of Go Organic! Philippines stressed.

He said the project also aims to strengthen partnership both at the local and national levels involving the DA, LGUs, NGOs and the academe as a means to consolidate support around the DA leadership’s policy and program initiatives on organic agriculture.

The project hopes to achieve increased income for farmers, increased rice productivity, and transform farmers as entrepreneurs, thus making agriculture viable again.

During the meeting, Alaminos City Mayor and League of Cities of the Philippines Secretary General Hernani Braganza also said LGUs are willing to work hand-in-hand for organic agriculture with the DA chief in support of Pres. Aquino’s thrusts.

UP Professor Oscar Zamora said the academe will help enhance knowledge on organic agriculture by conducting research and development, the result of which will be shared and made available to various stakeholders.

Among those who took part in the consultation meeting were Convenors of  Go Organic! Philippines including Mayor Hernani Braganza of Alaminos City, Atty. Efren Moncupa of the Malasimbu Agricultural Cooperative, Isagani Serrano of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and Dr. Oca Zamora of the UPLB Foundation.  Also in attendance were Dante De Lima and Teresa Sanano of Earth Keepers and Pablito Villegas of the One Organic Movement and Organic Producers and Traders Association.

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One response to this post.

  1. if we are sure that in organic production of rice we can produce more rice (more yield) and the Philippines will be rice self-sufficient, then let it be. If not, the DA must rethink of this.

    Reply

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