The new 'tikal'-A A +A
Monday, October 21, 2013
NEGROS Occidental is known for many things. Tikal (brag) is one. Then there’s the branding of the Sugar Capital of the Philippines. Well, not anymore.
The moniker Sugar Capital is so last century, as the teens nowadays would say. Move over. There’s a new Negrense tikal on the block.
Negros Occidental is now known for a new bragging right. According to the DA’s Agriculture Training Institute website, “But have you ever noticed why people love to go in this place? It’s because Negros Occidental is the ‘Organic Capital’ of the Philippines.”
And just to emphasize ATI’s assertion, Negros Occidental was recently awarded the Top Performing Province in Organic Agriculture Program Implementation Award during the 10th National Organic Agriculture Congress from Oct. 17-19 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila.
Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Victor Javellana, chair of the SP Committee on Agriculture, and Engr. Igmedio Tabianan, chief of the Provincial Agriculturist’s Office, received the award and the P3 million cash prize on behalf of Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr.
Negros Occidental, was cited as the top performer in organic agriculture for the Visayas cluster, and shared the spotlight with the rice-producing province, Nueva Ecija, the awardee for Luzon, and the diversified Agusan del Sur in Mindanao.
The year 2015 when the country becomes an almost zero-tariff for sugar exports can go hang. We have organics to shore up and develop the provincial economy.
During his President’s report during the 7th General Assembly of the Organic na Negros! Organic Producers and Retailers Association, Ramón Uy Jr. noted that “different members were identified as success model for organic farming from organic rice and coffee.”
Uy noted that ONOPRA produces a wide range of organic products such as organic rice, coffee, muscovado, organic fruits and vegetables, free range chicken and pork. This year, the Association has been the Provincial Government’s conduit during the International Food Expo held last May 16-19.
The Association is also represented at the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Council for the new Organic Industry sector. ONOPRA represented the Negros Organic Industry at the IFOAM First International Organic Marketing Conference at the World Trade Center. No less than IFOAM President Andre Leu praised the province for pursuing the plans to become an Organic Island.
Moreover, the province has been hosting celebration of annual organic festivals. Organics have been included in the 20th Pana-ad Festival whose theme was “Panaad @ 20: Celebrating Negros as the Leader of Organic in the Philippines.
Aside from the OPA, the Provincial Tourism office, ATI and private local and international stakeholders promote agritourism centering on organic farm tours.
More bragging rights. Negros Occidental has the most organic agriculture practitioners, biggest in terms of land, individual covered members and a strong industry sectors; the first and longest running organic festivals.
The province hosts the first and biggest exporters of organic products in the country, with wholesale and retail gross sales of the organic and natural industry in Negros Occidental is estimated to be P500 million annually.
Yes, the future is here. This is the province’s paradigm shift toward the green economy, its Threshold 21 (T21) models. It’s a move away from the business-as-usual (BAU) model of maintaining monocultures and is the forward steps long-term development and poverty reduction.
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Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 21, 2013.