Wednesday July 18, 2018

Promotion of organic agriculture pushed in Benguet

BAGUIO. A lettuce farmer checks on her produce in one of the organic farms in La Trinidad. Organic farming is being pushed in the province hoping to lessen the demand on hazardous fertilizers. (Milo Brioso)

A PROPOSED ordinance promoting and developing organic agriculture and biodiversity conservation has been introduced in Benguet.

Proponent board member Robert Namoro, who also chairs the committee on agriculture, said the ordinance aims to expand the practice of organic farming in the province, educate stakeholders on the principles of sustainable organic farming and promote the development of organic practice.

“Through organic farming, our dependency on imported hazardous fertilizer and pesticides will be lessened and will make agricultural products free from health threatening toxic substances and to serve as an alternative environment friendly farming system in the phase of large scale agriculture product in induced in Genetically Modified Organisms,” Namoro added.

The proposed ordinance covers the implementation of organic agricultural programs, projects and activities including the provision and delivery of support services with focus on the farmers and other stakeholders.

The scope of the proposed measure includes all agriculture commodities from livestock and its by-products, crop production, food processing, aquaculture, production of organic farm inputs, and forest products.

During the public consultation on Friday, organic farmer Rogel Marsan expressed his support to the proposed ordinance and pointed the establishment of market site as continuing challenge of those gearing to go organic.

Marsan is one of the few pioneers of organic farming in the region and the province.

His farm, the Cosmic Farm is a half hectare land in Beckel, La Trinidad which serves as a demo farm and cater to different highland vegetable organic products.

Under the proposed ordinance, the Benguet Provincial Technical Committee on Organic Agriculture will act as the policy making and recommendatory body that are set to implement provincial organic agricultural program, standards and accreditation, establishment of organic farms and organic agriculture learning centers, conservation of indigenous farm practices and resources, organic seed bank, promotion of urban/backyard gardening, integrated organic farming system, and support services to farmers who wish to engage in organic agriculture.

An initial P2 million is eyed to be appropriated annually under the Office of Provincial Agriculturist.