Tuesday, February 14, 2012
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Aquino urged to implement programs to boost organic farming.
Organic farming advocates are urging the Aquino administration to implement the National Organic Agriculture Program to boost the production of safe, healthy foods and food products through organic farming.
Roland Cabigas, managing director of La Liga Policy Institute (La Liga) and a convener of Go Organic! Philippines, said President Aquino and his alter-ego in the Department of Agriculture (DA), Secretary Proceso Alcala, should act with dispatch to encourage farmers to shift from conventional to organic farming.
This, he said, will boost the plan to convert conventional farms into organic farm sites where farmers produce their own organic fertilizer, and grow rice and other high-value crops and vegetables with less of those harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Cabigas made the call as the government holds the Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) and Green Economy High-Level Preparatory Workshop. Cabigas, along with other citizen leaders, took part in one of the workshops held last week at the Astoria Plaza in Pasig City.
The workshop aims to equip policy directors of key government organizations with a clear understanding on SCP and Green Economy, and on how policies can be strengthened with these tools to better address sectoral concerns while also aligning with the ultimate goal of sustainable development in the Philippines.
La Liga and Go Orgnic! Philippines are pushing for the conversion of at least 400,000 hectares or 10 percent of the country’s agricultural land devoted to rice production into organic farm sites by 2016.
Ideally, organic sites or zones should be established in every congressional district where farmers can produce their own organic fertilizer and pesticide to sustain organic-rice production, as well as crops and vegetables.
According to Cabigas, the way to go organic is consistent with the pronounced policy of the government to promote sustainable agriculture.
In line with the group’s thrusts of promoting sustainable organic and ecological agriculture, he said President Aquino, the DA and all relevant government agencies should adopt a similar policy that promotes a lifestyle change among food producers and consumers, eventually leading to sustainable or responsible food production and consumption.
“The government should invest in information, education and communication to highlight the need to change the way we do agriculture. Decades of failure to achieve food security the conventional farming way is proof that going organic is the way to go for the Philippines,” he said.
La Liga, the convening organization of the Alternative Budget Initiative – Environment Cluster, is calling for increased budget allocation to promote sustainable organic and ecological agriculture as part of its budget advocacy.
Currently, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit 1 and local government officials, La Liga is implementing Organikong Palayan-Pangasinan which covers Alaminos City, and the municipalities of Bani, Dasol and Burgos.
The group is pushing for the integration of policies, programs and budget from the national down to the provincial and city or municipal levels, such as the Republic Act 10068, or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010. Incidentally, La Liga played a vital role in consolidating inputs from various stakeholders for the drafting of the Implementing Rules of Regulation of RA 10068 which is now in effect.
By Business Mirror
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