THE provincial government of Negros Occidental is allocating P900,000 for the hosting of the 1st Negros Island Region (NIR) Organic Agriculture Summit to be held at the SMX Convention Center on September 5.
Second District Board Member Salvador Escalante Jr., chairman of committee on appropriations, budget, finance, and ways and means, said the total project cost will be funded through the grants and donations under the 2016 Lump Sum Appropriation.
Escalante said the provincial government, to be represented by Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., will enter into a memorandum of agreement with the Negros Island Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Foundation Inc. (Nisard) for the transfer of funds.
Nisard president Edgardo Uychiat had earlier said the event themed “Organic Agriculture, Small Farmers and You” will highlight the need for small organic farmers in the region to scale up.
The summit is expected to gather about 500 small farmers, local government officials, other industry players, and policy makers in the region.
“The region has already passed the incubation stage and it is now ready to expand and take advantage of the growing organic market,” Uychiat said, adding that the theme stresses the importance of involvement of all stakeholder-members as well as the support of consumers.
The one-day summit will include a series of talks on market opportunities, financing and credit, and policy issues particularly on certification.
National officials, including Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and industry experts like International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (Ifoam) president Andrew Leu, are expected to grace the activity.
Ramon Uy Jr., president of Organik Na Negros Organic Producers and Retailers Association (Onopra), said the activity will surely help further boost the efforts of Negrense organic farmers and producers.
“This is another venue for us farmers and producers to expand our knowledge and skills, as well as raise pressing industry concerns and challenges that we are experiencing,” Uy added.
For her part, DA-NIR Regional Director Joyce Wendam has lauded the provincial government for actively implementing initiatives anchored on developing the organic agriculture sector.
Wendam also recognized the contribution of the private sector in sustaining the region’s status as leader of organic agriculture in the country.