Sunday, August 25, 2019

Sanchez: Organic agriculture vote

Nature Speaks

A SENATE press release dated March 26 featured reelectionist Senator Sonny Angara, who called for the government to roll out more measures in support of Filipino organic farmers to help the sector survive and deliver on its promises of environmental safety, health benefits and agricultural sustainability.

While Negrense sugar execs buck import liberalization, Angara’s call is a spring shower for Negrenses during the El Niño.

The province continues its bid to “green” the island, Negros Occidental alone hosts at least 17,000 organic practitioners with 16,000 hectares devoted to organic farming. “We remain to be strong as the country’s organic leader,” said Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino.

So Angara’s call can resonate with Negrense organic agriculture advocates.

So too with fellow reelectionist Senator Cynthia Villar, who sought for a more affordable system of certification for organic agricultural products to encourage small farmers to go organic.

A visitor during the annual Negros Island Organic Festival, Villar is convinced that one of the areas that would give the country an advantage over its Asean neighbors is the area of organic agriculture.

The lady senator mentioned the organic fertilizer-making project, which she started in Las Piñas. Using two methods, rotary composting and vermicomposting, composting centers were built in the barangays to convert kitchen and garden wastes into organic fertilizer. There are 70 composters distributed, which presently serve 35,000 households. The organic fertilizers were distributed for free to farmers and vegetable gardeners.

For his part, Angara noted: “The government should strengthen support services for farmers who refuse to use chemical-based farm outputs and genetically modified technologies. This should include spearheading major marketing initiatives to boost sales of organic products.”

Angara said this incentives program should be replicated nationwide to pave the way for a shift in policy orientation, from synthetic to organic agriculture that is a pioneering, sustainable and environmentally friendly way to produce food.

In batting for organic agriculture, Angara said the farming method has been proven more productive, profitable, and sustainable while safeguarding the environment, adding that it delivers equally or more nutritious food products that contain less or no pesticide residues, and provide greater social benefits than its conventional counterpart.

Organic farming, he added, is concerned with protecting the environment and working in harmony with existing ecosystems, including conserving water, soil and energy, and using renewable resources and natural farming cycles.

“Overall, organic farming is better for the environment and more sustainable,” Angara said in the press release.


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