The Department of Agriculture (DA) led by the National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP) formally launched the 9th Organic Agriculture (OA) Month Celebration with the theme “Kabuhayang OA, Kinabukasang OK!” on November 10, 2023 at the Quezon City Memorial Circle (QCMC).
Representing Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. during the event, DA Undersecretary for Special Concerns Zamzamin Ampatuan expressed full support to the country’s organic agriculture practitioners and industry stakeholders.
“Organic agriculture is the spirit of agriculture, the conscience of agriculture,” he said as he emphasized the many benefits of organic farming for the environment, human health, and community development, among others.
On the other hand, NOAP Director Bernadette San Juan stressed that for the Philippine agriculture to be sustainable, it needs to be self-sufficient and not dependent on imported inputs.
She also presented the Organic Agriculture Livelihood Program (OALP) and the Youth Internship Program for 2023.
“It is good to produce organic products because farmers can sell their organic produce at higher price compared to the conventionally produced agri products especially if these are certified as organic,” Senator Cynthia Villar said via video message.
She also highlighted that the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS), which serves as an affordable alternative to third party organic certification, helps more than the 165,000 small organic farmers in the country.
“Organic agricultural practices can improve the quality of our soil and water. It can save our soil from degradation through the use of excessive chemicals in our farms. Composting is the answer and the best alternative to expensive imported chemical fertilizer,” Senator Villar added as she commended the initiatives of the DA offices particularly the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM).
In partnership with the DA-Agricultural Training Institute, DA-BSWM, and the DA-Regional Field Offices, bureaus, and attached agencies, the DA-NOAP will conduct various activities nationwide highlighting the economic benefits of organic farming.
The month-long activities will promote OA enterprises among the youth and farmers cooperatives and associations (FCAs) as a sustainable livelihood while contributing to environmental conservation and health protection.
The 9th OA Month celebration aims to strengthen the country’s organic agriculture industry by improving the level of public awareness on organic agriculture, showcasing research and technologies, promoting organic and naturally grown products, and featuring the success stories of OA practitioners.
As part of the celebration, the DA will set up booths for retail selling of organic and natural products and produce, technology demonstration, and photo exhibit at the QCMC Covered Court on November 10–12, 2023.
The DA-ATI will also spearhead a week-long public webinar series to discuss and promote OA technologies and innovations.
Moreover, the DA-Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS) will hold the Philippine Natural and Organic Products Expo (PNOPEX) on November 24–26, 2023 at the SM Megamall, Ortigas Center in Mandaluyong to promote organic and natural products and facilitate market linkage activities.
The OA Month celebration’s culminating activity will be held at the last day of the PNOPEX with an awarding ceremony for the DA-ATI’s Kabataang OA Program winners, PNOPEX exhibitors, and outgoing National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB) members.
Through the Presidential Proclamation No. 1030 issued in 2015, the month of November was set as the OA Month in the country to recognize the importance of organic agriculture and encourage its adoption as an effective tool for development, environmental conservation, and health protection. ###