THE Department of Agriculture (DA) kicked off the two-day Mindanao-wide Organic and Natural Expo or ONE Mindanao at SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang Premier to further promote and champion Mindanao's organic and natural food products amid the growing demand for it in the market.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said that the ONE Mindanao will be the prelude to the island-wide organic and natural expo for Visayas slated in 2019 and Luzon in 2020. He said that the activity is designed to raise public awareness on the benefits and availability of natural and organic products in the market.
"Mindanao, being the country's second biggest island region, has a lot to offer when it comes to traditional and organic food production. Through ONE Mindanao, we aim to facilitate trade between the farmers, consumers, and institutional buyers of organic products, among others," Piñol said.
President Rodrigo Duterte led the banging of the gong that ushered the opening of the activity. He then roamed around the function venue 60 exhibitors showcased their organic products coming from different parts of Mindanao. The President also tasted some organic products prepared by the participants.
Likewise, Senator Cynthia Villar, the head of the Senate committee on agriculture and food also joined the opening.
The event, which closes today, will be open during mall hours.
The expo featured an array of Mindanao's organic and natural food products and ingredients, as well as indigenous fibers and weaves from food producers, processors and entrepreneurs from all over Mindanao.
"One of our strategies is by highlighting organic agriculture as an ecologically-sound food production practice and organically-grown products as healthy food both for the farmers themselves and the consumers," Piñol added.
The DA chief said the event will also highlight the national organic agriculture program and the services of DA being the lead implementing agency of the country's Organic Agriculture Act.
Products showcased during the expo include vegetables, fresh fruits, spices and herbs, colored rice, natural sweeteners, local artisan chocolates, and single-origin local coffee as well as natural butter and dairy products, and marine and fishery products.
A display of the rich cultural heritage of the various tribes and indigenous peoples of Mindanao through their fibers and weaves was also featured including Yakan weaves from Zamboanga Peninsula (Basilan), Mindanao silk from Northern Mindanao (Misamis Oriental) and Inaul weaves from Maguindanao.