Protect organic agriculture areas to guarantee healthy, affordable food

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DAVAO CITY — Environmental groups call on the City Government to fast track the declaration of Barangay Sibulan in Toril District as an organic agriculture zone, making it a protected area from contamination of chemical-based farm inputs and to guarantee continuous production and supply of affordable organic food for the city’s residents.

“We need to secure and expand our existing organic agricultural areas, given our growing population and increasing demand for safe food. These OA zones will encourage more farmers to adopt organic farming practices. The more organic farmers we have, the better assurance we have that pesticide- and GMO-free food will be affordable and accessible to all Dabawenyos,” said Nena Morales, Chair of the Davao Participatory Guarantee System Committee and GODC member.

This month’s Organic Agriculture celebration theme, “pagsisguro na organiko ang konsumo ng bawat Dabawenyo tungo sa tunay na pagbabago,” is focused on ensuring organic food as the staple food for all Dabawenyos,

The City Agriculturist Office reports that the Davao City Organic Agriculture Management Council (DCOAMC) has passed a resolution requesting the Office of the City Mayor to issue an executive order declaring Brgy. Sibulan as an organic agriculture (OA) zone and organic agriculture as an agricultural practice in this area.

“This call is a reiteration of the resolution passed way back in 2014 by the Sangguniang Barangay of Sibulan to declare their barangay as OA zone given that there are existing organic farms and farmers in the barangays. This is a long overdue action. But this time, the resolution appeals to the City Mayor given the delays in meeting requirements to merit City Council resolution designating the area as OA zone,” explained Chinkie Peliño-Golle, executive director of Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) and GODC member.

Organic agriculture zones are protected from encroachment and contamination of using chemical-based farm inputs, mining and contamination of genetically engineered crops, based on the City’s Organic Agriculture Ordinance. The ordinance also mandates the LGU to ensure support, such as provision of necessary funds, to organic farmers for their training, production and marketing needs.

Brgy Sibulan is one of the ideal sites to be declared as an organic agriculture zone given the high number of organic farming practitioners in the area, including the Bagobo-Tagabawa tribe who implements organic agriculture as a predominant way of farming life and the Sibulan Organic Banana Growers Multipurpose Cooperation (SOBAGROMCO) which exports organic bananas to Japan.

In her State of the City Address last September, Mayor Sara Duterte reported that the City Government will invest in an organic farm and agricultural training center to inspire current and future farmers.

Organic farms not only contribute to food security and good health of communities, they also prevent further contamination of water resources and mitigate the negative impacts of climate change.

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