‘NEED ADEQUATE SUPPORT’ | Lacson underscores dedication, empowerment of farmers to organic farming

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Lacson leads the opening of the 16th Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival in Bacolod City on Wednesday, November 15.
Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Lacson leads the opening of the 16th Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival in Bacolod City on Wednesday, November 15.

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson emphasized the dedication and empowerment of the farmers during the opening of the 16th Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival at the Negros Residences on Wednesday, November 15.

Lacson also called for adequate support and opportunities for farmers. "In advancing organic farming, how will organic farming affect food production? How will it impact the profitability of our farmers' businesses?"

"These questions underscore the role of the government and stakeholders in providing adequate support and opportunities to our farmers. We need to empower and enable our farmers, making it our primary goal to enhance the market potential of our organic products," the governor pointed out.

He said that this year's celebration "encompasses multifaceted programs aimed at enhancing our knowledge and methods; our dedication is crucial not just for the economic development of our island but, most of all, for the wellbeing of our communities, the mitigation of environmental destruction, and the protection of farmers, consumers, and the general public.”

Lacson said that the provincial government initiated the Organic Farming program "to counteract the adverse impacts of diminishing natural resources."

"The promotion of organic agriculture will cumulatively condition and enrich the fertility of the soil, increase farm productivity, reduce pollution and environmental destruction, prevent the depletion of natural resources, further protect the health of farmers, consumers, and the general public, and save on imported farm inputs," he also said.

For Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Benitez, the locality will promote food tourism as its tourism attraction.

Benitez said the city government is ready to put up the needed infrastructure to host food producers in Bacolod.

Victorias City Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez, who is also the Association of Chief Executives in Negros Occidental president, meanwhile, emphasized the importance of food security.

He said organic agriculture's economic, health, and environmental potential is "tremendous and far-reaching."

The mayor said that “if we listen to the discussions on food security, healthy living, and even food justice, the foreshadowing solutions to these worldwide concerns can be positively found in transforming our commercial-driven farming methods into organic agriculture."

"With enough supply of organically and ethically produced food, we will be able to address issues of equal access to food, no matter what the boundaries are, all over the world," Benitez said.

Benitez has also urged the attendees to urge the youth to get into agriculture as a way of life, pointing out that farmers are getting older.

It also concerns him that the number of enrollees in agricultural schools is dwindling, and the alarm on the future of the country's agricultural sector should have been sounded already.

"In as much as we are talking about new and better approaches and practices in the industry, a more effective food security program, or even efficient agricultural land use, we must also bring the discussion to the future workforce of this sector," Benitez said.

"We should make farming "cool, smart, and sexy," he said.

The festival will run until November 19 at North Capitol Road, with 115 stalls displaying and selling organic products.*

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