“Organic agriculture works in harmony with nature rather than against it,” said DA-6 Regional Technical Director Dr. Joyce Wendam during the 2nd Regional Organic Agriculture Summit Opening Program held Monday at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol.
Wendam said that organic farming involves using techniques to achieve good cropping yields without harming the natural environment or the people who live and work in it.
She said that going organic brings a number of advantages including the promotion of the healthy use of soil, water, and air, as well as minimizing all forms of pollution.
“Organic farming also helps in developing and promoting the use of biotechnology in agriculture,” she stressed.
She emphasized that agricultural products are handled with emphasis in careful processing methods in order to maintain the organic integrity and vital qualities of the products at all stages.
She said that the rising concern about antibiotics and pesticide residues and the growing clamor for healthy and safe food are just two of the major reasons why there is a need to shift to organic farming.
“There is also a bright and vast market potential for organic products that farmers here can take advantage,” she said.
In Western Visayas, a total of 11,692 hectares of land have been utilized for organic agriculture.
The target for five years until 2016 is 33,345 hectares which is five percent of the 667,000 hectares total farming area in the region.
The DA official said that there are 10,555 organic practitioners in Region 6 and these farmers mostly come from the province of Negros Occidental.
Wendam also posed a challenge to the provinces of Iloilo, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Guimaras to increase the number of organic agriculture practitioners.
“We are asking for your cooperation and assistance, most specially the local government units and the farmers to go organic because this promotes practices that develop resiliency to vulnerabilities due to climate change,” she said.
Republic Act 10068 or the “Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 declares promotion, propagation, further development, and implementation of the practice of organic agriculture in the Philippines.
This will cumulatively condition and enrich the fertility of the soil, increase farm productivity, reduce pollution and destruction of the environment, prevent the depletion of natural resources, further protect the health of farmers, consumers, and the general public, and save on imported farm inputs. (JCM/LTP/PIA-Iloilo)