A LUZON-BASED non-government organization has expressed interest to assist small organic farmers who are members of the Negros Island Organic Producers Association (Niopa).

On Tuesday, officials and representatives of the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) visited farmer-members in Busay village in Bago City, where the post-harvest facility of the Family Farms Inc. is situated.

Jerry Dionson, treasurer of Niopa, said FFI has been helping small organic farmers in Negros Occidental, particularly in addressing their problems on lack of stable market.

To further help the farmers, Niopa linked them to the PEF for possible interventions.

“They were able to hear our problems during the meeting and they have manifested support to the association," Dionson said, adding that PEF has yet to determine specific areas which they could help small local farmers.

Since they are into organic farming, the foundation will most probably cover Niopa members under its climate change mitigation program, he added.

Niopa, formerly called the Negros Organic Rice Industry Association, started with 25 members in 2009.

It currently has 74 active member-producers. Based on its internal control system, there are 120 new farmers lined up for membership.

In terms of expansion, the organization targets to increase its rice area for organic certification to 500 hectares this year.

Dionson said the Niopa covers 200 hectares of sporadic rice farms in different cities and municipalities in the region, mostly in Negros Occidental, that are subject to organic certification.

“Aside from having a stable market for our products which has been one of our major problems, we hope that PEF would also help us on expanding our certified organic areas," Dionson said.

Aside from rice areas, other organic farms are planted with vegetables and fruits, among others, he added.