Villar: Organic farming will promote health, agricultural competitiveness

SENATOR Cynthia Villar said that organic farming and the promotion of organic food and materials in agriculture will have positive returns for the country’s agriculture as it will help mother earth and its soil to become healthy.

“Organic farming will be of big help to keep the soil healthy. We must remember that 95 percent of our food comes from the soil. The simple way is to return the nutrients to the soil through composting and the use of organic fertilizer. People should learn to compost kitchen and garden wastes," said Villar.

She said the use of organic fertilizer instead of chemical-based fertilizers is the easiest way and basic application of organic farming.

She emphasized that the inclusive use of chemical fertilizers and insecticides caused damage to crops, decrease crop production and result to loss soil fertility. She also said soil degradation in the country has already reached 38 percent.

"It will be a big problem to all of us if the soil will be totally destroyed. The success of organic agriculture will largely rely on the state of our soil," she said.

Villar, chair of the Senate agriculture and food committee, said she has been providing legislative support to organic agriculture.
Among them is the Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016, or the Republic Act 10816.

Recently, Villar said she was invited to an organic festival in Sergio Osmeña, Zamboanga del Norte. They are working on being 100 percent organic by 2020 or three years from now.

Citing the positive contribution of organic food to the health of each and every person, she expressed the hope that the National Organic Agriculture Program will gain more support from the people and the government.

Villar said it is high time that the government prioritizes the health of our people by considering the positive gain that organic food can do for the health of every Filipino.

Villar also cited the economic gain of the country from the export boost and improved competitiveness in the US2.3 trillion aggregate economic-size Asean Market.

NOAP is the blueprint of the development and promotion of organic agriculture in the Philippines. It covers the promotion and commercialization of organic farming practices, cultivation, and adoption of production and processing methods, capacity building of farmers and the education of consumers, among others.

"I am confident that the new NOAP (National Organic Agriculture
Program) document for the next six years will map out more successes in organic agriculture as well as stakeholders," said Villar.

But Villar said the Philippines, despite being an agricultural country, has yet to achieve the goal of NOAP, wherein five percent of the country's agricultural farms should be converted last year to organic. (SunStar Philippines)
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