‘Sus­tain or­ganic move­ment in Ne­gocc’

Sun Star Bacolod - - Front Page - BY ERWIN P. NICAVERA

DRIVEN by the prov­ince’s huge con­tri­bu­tion to the coun­try’s or­ganic agri­cul­ture, Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal Gover­nor Al­fredo Marañon Jr. has vowed to sus­tain the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment’s move­ment on de­vel­op­ing the in­dus­try.

Speak­ing at the open­ing rites of the 13th Ne­gros Is­land Or­ganic Farm­ers Fes­ti­val (NIOFF) at the Capi­tol grounds in Ba­colod City yes­ter­day, Marañon said the an­nual event has been at­tract­ing many vis­i­tors es­pe­cially those com­ing from other coun­tries.

Marañon said some gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials of Ok­i­nawa City, are at­tend­ing the fes­ti­val, on top of other for­eign guests from Aus­tralia and Ko­rea, among oth­ers.

“They are im­pressed and sur­prised with our prod­ucts,” he said, adding that the in­creas­ing num­ber of peo­ple join­ing the fes­ti­val sig­ni­fies that it is be­com­ing big­ger and more suc­cess­ful ev­ery year.

Themed “Or­ganic Ag-

ri­cul­ture: The Green­ing of Ne­gros Is­land,” this year’s or­ganic farm­ers fes­ti­val will run un­til Satur­day, De­cem­ber 1.

In his speech, the gover­nor rec­og­nized the ef­forts of the founders of the fes­ti­val, which he con­sid­ers a ma­jor part of the prov­ince’s or­ganic agri­cul­ture move­ment.

Marañon said the trend now all over the world is healthy food. This is aside from the fact that or­ganic farm­ing has been help­ing a lot of farm­ers and their fam­i­lies in terms of im­prov­ing lives.

“So we should sus­tain our or­ganic agri­cul­ture move­ment in the prov­ince which we started 13 years ago,” he said, adding that “any­thing good for the health and farm­ers should be con­tin­ued.”

Sup­port

The De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture (DA) in Western Visayas has also as­sured of its sup­port to the push of the prov­ince to fur­ther boost its or­ganic agri­cul­ture in­dus­try.

Rene Famoso, chief op­er­a­tions Di­vi­sion of DA Re­gion 6, said the hope of the re­gion in terms of or­ganic agri­cul­ture is Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal be­cause it is only the prov­ince that de­clared to be an or­ganic is­land.

For the whole of Western Visayas, there are around 460,000 hectares agri­cul­tural lands. The re­gional line agency is tar­get­ing seven per­cent of which to be de­voted to or­ganic.

He noted that of the 13,000-hectare tar­get for Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal, the prov­ince al­ready ex­ceeded with al­most 15,000 hectares de­voted to or­ganic farm­ing.

Famoso, how­ever, stressed that the fund for or­ganic agri­cul­ture in the re­gion is lim­ited.

For this year, DA Re­gion 6 has only al­lot­ted P2.1 mil­lion for Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal benefiting only five lo­cal gov­ern­ment units (LGUS).

Un­for­tu­nately, there will be smaller bud­get next year, he said.

“We know that our gover­nor here is not sleep­ing and it is re­ally his dream,” the DA of­fi­cial said, adding that de­spite the small as­sis­tance for or­ganic agri­cul­ture in Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal the re­gional line agency will still sup­port its pro­grams.

Recog­ni­tion

Dur­ing the ac­tiv­ity yes­ter­day, the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment rec­og­nized or­ganic prac­ti­tion­ers, fo­cal per­sons, lo­cal gov­ern­ment units and stake­hold­ers for their con­tri­bu­tion to the de­vel­op­ment of the lo­cal or­ganic agri­cul­ture in­dus­try.

The prov­ince awarded Vic­to­rias City as best or­ganic LGU; Pamela Henares of Tal­isay City– best cer­ti­fied or­ganic farm (in­di­vid­ual cat­e­gory); Ne­gros Is­land Or­ganic Pro­duc­ers As­so­ci­a­tion in Bago City-best cer­ti­fied or­ganic farm (group cat­e­gory); Donie Ver­gara of Bago City–best farm in-con­ver­sion (in­di­vid­ual cat­e­gory); Nata­ban Or­ganic Vil­lage Farm­ers As­so­ci­a­tion in San Car­los City-best farm in-con­ver­sion (group cat­e­gory); Modesto Al­pas of Si­palay City–best cof­fee farmer; Ro­ge­lio Cat­a­l­ogo of Sal­vador Bene­dicto–best ca­cao farmer; and Lo­du­vico Vil­lanueva of Si­lay City– best in­te­grated agro­forestry.

Other win­ners are Sam­son De­los Reyes of Sal­vador Ben­dicto–best aqua in­land aqua­cul­ture project; Electo Vi­laaster of Sal­vador Bene­dicto–best live­stock project for chicken, Ce­cil Sil­ve­rio of Bi­nal­ba­gan for pekin duck, and Dr. Romeo Agravi­ador of San Car­los City for goat; Don Luis Con­s­ing El­e­men­tary School in Cadiz City–best school im­ple­ment­ing or­ganic agri­cul­ture project (el­e­men­tary); and Can­si­layan Na­tional High School in Mur­cia-best school im­ple­ment­ing or­ganic agri­cul­ture project (high school).

The prov­ince also rec­og­nized Nan­netes Farm in Cadiz City as best agri­cul­ture en­tre­pre­neur; Nery­lynn Lim of Manapla–best or­ganic agri­cul­ture in­te­grated project (in­di­vid­ual cat­e­gory); Pakigda-et sa Kalambo-an in To­bosobest or­ganic agri­cul­ture in­te­grated project (group cat­e­gory); Eva Dela Cruz of La Car­lota City–or­ganic fo­cal per­son; El­pe­dio Dayu­day of San Car­los City–best agri­cul­tural ex­ten­sion worker; and Su­mu­gat Fam­ily of Vic­to­rias City–best or­ganic prac­ti­tioner fam­ily.

They re­ceived cash and cer­tifi­cates.

Turnover

Eight in­di­vid­u­als and or­ga­ni­za­tions, mean­while, re­ceived var­i­ous equip­ment for food pro­cess­ing from the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Metro Ba­colod Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (MBCCI).

These are the Sa­toca Agrar­ian Re­form Co­op­er­a­tive, Colo­nia Div­ina Marang As­so­ci­a­tions, Muy Bien Ven­tures Inc., Yvonne Am­bino (Ru­ral Im­prove­ment Club), El­iz­a­beth Regla (Ru­ral Im­prove­ment Club), Ofe­lia Ta­gaysay (Ka­bankalan Women’s Club), Melva Tolog (Ka­bankalan Women’s Club), and Ana Marie Braza (Ru­ral Im­prove­ment Club).

Other ac­tiv­i­ties

Among the guests dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony in­cluded Rei Yoon, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Soil and Or­ganic Move­ment Inc. and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the In­ter­na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Or­ganic Agri­cul­ture Move­ments (IFOAM).

Aside from lec­tures, train­ings and sem­i­nars, the four-day event will also be high­lighted by ex­hibits of or­ganic prod­ucts and by-prod­ucts, also show­cas­ing sus­tain­able in­no­va­tions and tech­nolo­gies prac­ticed by dif­fer­ent or­ganic farmer-pro­duc­ers and ad­vo­cates in the is­land.*

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