LAWMAKER Cynthia Villar is urging farmers across the country to start shifting to organic farming and take advantage of the expanding global organic market.
Specifically, Villar sought support for the National Organic Agriculture Program (Noap) to boost the export of organic agricultural products and improve the farmers’ competitiveness in the $2.3-trillion Asean market.
Noap is the blueprint for 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.
Despite being an agricultural country, Villar said, the Philippines has yet to achieve Noap’s goal: five percent of the country’s agricultural farms should have been converted to organic last year.
She said the organic farms in the country still make up three percent of the total farms in the country. However, there are already provinces taking the initiative to attain their targets.
“I am confident that the new Noap document for the next six years will map out more successes in organic agriculture as well as stakeholders,” Villar said in a statement.
“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,” said Villar, who is the chairperson of the Senate agriculture and food committee.
She added soil degradation in the country has reached 38 percent and that continued use of the harmful chemicals in farming could lead to farming productivity loss, unhealthy soil and crop losses.
Meanwhile, opening organic farms to tourists is a welcome development for both tourism and agriculture sectors, especially for the latter, which is still recovering.
The agriculture sector grew by 2.5 percent in the third quarter, behind services that grew by 7.1 percent and industry at a faster rate of 7.5 percent.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 said it will intensify the promotion of farm tourism in Central Visayas in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture.
DTI 7 Director Joshur Judd Lanete II identified Tuburan’s 2,000-hectare coffee farm as a feasible site, especially among coffee-lovers.