Farmers urged to hike organic production

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014


NEGROS Occidental Governor Alfredo Maranon Jr. urged Negrense farmers anew to focus on organic agriculture to better prepare for the challenge of the Asian Free Trade Agreement when tariffs on imported agricultural products would be very low starting next year.

Maranon said that Negros is already known for producing organic agricultural products but he still challenged farmers to produce more because there is a very big market for organic products.

"We will try to meet the demand as the potential is big. Next year, we will exceed our produce from this year," Maranon said during the opening of the Regional Trade Fair, one of the features of the 21st Panaad Sa Negros Festival themed “Organik na Negros: Rising to the Challenge of Globalization in 2015.”

A week-long Regional Agriculture Fair features the organic and non-organic crops of six provinces of Western Visayas region.

Meanwhile, Regional Director Helen Catalbas of the Department of Tourism (DOT) said that Negros Occidental is the second most attractive tourism destinations all over Western Visayas.

She said that based on statistics, one third of the total tourist arrivals in the region in 2013 went to Negros Occidental and Bacolod City.

Catalbas added that under the road convergence program of DOT and the Department of Public Works and Highways, one half of the entire tourism road projects for Western Visayas were implemented in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental.

Of the P1.2-billion allocation for tourism road projects from 2012 to 2013, P615 million went to Negros Occidental.

This year, four more big tourism road projects will also be implemented in the province, Katalbas said.

May Ann Grajo, head of the Agri-business Division Department of Agriculture, said the fair aims to share the best agricultural practices of the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, Guimaras and Negros Occidental.

"We started holding the fair at a mall in 2006 in Iloilo then we decided to hold it in other provinces, and Negros Occidental was the first province outside of Iloilo that hosted the fair in 2008," Grajo said.

This year's fair was also participated by the provinces of Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan, Davao and Cebu.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 01, 2014.

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