Issue of November 5, 2017

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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Confab bats for science–based agri
by Leny Mendoza

Farmers and local government unit officials from the Cordillera participated in the 14th National Organic Agriculture Congress (NOAC) held in Cagayan de Oro City last Oct. 24-26.

The 14th NOAC advocated for the promotion and support for organic agriculture that is science-based, market-oriented, adaptive, responsive, and transformative (SMART).

It recognized the efforts and accomplishments of LGUs, individual farmers, farming families, farmer’s organizations, agricultural extension workers, and organic agriculture focal persons in this endeavor.

The other participants are organic farming practitioners from all regions of the country, stakeholders, implementing and partner agencies, partner, local government units, and supporters of organic agriculture.

Department of Agriculture Sec. Emmanuel F. Piñol, Usec. and Alternate Chair and Permanent Representative to National Organic Agriculture Board Bernadette Puyat, and National Organic Agriculture Program Coordinator Engr. Christopher Morales graced the event.

Piñol stressed the need to implement technology, financing, and marketing in the agriculture sector to improve the productivity of the people and ensure that farmers and fisher folks will make money out of their efforts and sacrifices.

He said that technology in organic farming is needed. “The use of modern organic farming technology like the use of organic fertilizers and the use of organic bio control will result in greater productivity,” he said.

He added that the biggest problem in agriculture is financing, which the present administration is trying to address by introducing the new program called Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) that allows farmers to have access credit without collateral and with six percent interest annually.

They are also working on a new scheme improving the equipment distribution program where the seeds that the government is giving will be transferred to credit system, which will allow farmers to buy their seeds that are appropriate for the type of soil and climate they have.

In the marketing aspect, Piñol cited the TienDA, which was launched this year to establish a marketing system where consumers and producers are linked to reduce the price of farm produce while allowing farmers to earn more from their produce.

“We will be doing this continuously until we perfect the system and to promote the use of local agriculture products,” he said.

Piñol challenged the farmers to work on feeding the Filipino people first. “To you organic farmers, let’s talk to our congressmen and see what incentives we can offer to every farmer who embraces organic farming,” he said.

The Secretary assured his full commitment to organic farming and he will not stop moving around the country because he knows that there are still families waiting for the government to reach them.

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Filipino–Japanese Friendship Association of Northern Luzon, Inc.
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