13th organic farmers festival underscores greening Negros

THE 13th Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival (Nioff), underscores the

push for a green island to further promote the organic agriculture industry in Negros Occidental.

The Nioff kicks off on Wednesday, November 28.

Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino said on Tuesday, November 27, that as the province continues its bid to “green” the island, there is a need to further maximize its potential in further developing the local organic agriculture industry.

Masculino said that Negros Occidental alone hosts at least 17,000 organic practitioners with about 16,000 hectares devoted to organic farming.

“We remain to be strong as the country's organic leader. Though, there are still many other areas for development,” he added.

The theme of the festival is “Organic Agriculture: The Greening of Negros Island.”

This year's organic farmers festival will run until Saturday, December 1.

Invited to grace the opening rites at the Capitol grounds in Bacolod City are Senate committee on agriculture and food chairman Cynthia Villar, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Soil and Organic Movement Inc. Korea chief executive officer Rei Yoon, among others.

Other guests may include representatives of various regional line agencies from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Tourism (DOT).

Masculino pointed out that greening Negros means going for healthier people, environment, and economy.

Through organic practices, he said, the health of the people are secured as food products they consume are free of chemicals.

“There's a study on the use of fertilizers contributing to higher nitrate content that contaminates the soil,” Masculino said, adding that “we would like to know further if it has a correlation with the increasing number of dialyzed persons.”

In terms of market potential, organic products still command a higher prize.

The Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPA) has been campaigning for stronger organic agriculture farming as it provides a bigger opportunity for local farmers to increase their income.

Masculino said they believe that improving productivity and profitability would contribute to reducing poverty.

The annual festival is one of the activities of the Provincial Government to aggressively campaign for organic agriculture development.

Masculino said the government should lead the implementation of measures and initiatives to develop the industry like provision of subsidy among farmers.

“There is still a growing market for organic products. But we also want to make it affordable and accessible to the public by mainly increasing the production,” he added.

Other activities during the organic farmers festival include awarding of organic practitioners, focal persons, local government units and stakeholders, ceremonial turnover of equipment, lectures, trainings and seminars, and food olympics, among others.

This year's celebration is in collaboration with the Provincial Government of Negros Oriental, DA, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Trade and Industry, Negros Island Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development, Organik na Negros Organic Producers and Retailers Association, Department of Education, OPA, Provincial Veterinary Office, Provincial Environment Management Office, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements.

The four-day event will highlight exhibits of organic products and by products, and will showcase sustainable innovations and technologies practiced by different organic farmer-producers and advocates in the island. (EPN)


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