MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/06 January) – Bukidnon will start implementing the law on organic agriculture this year with an information drive and by developing demonstration farms, provincial agriculturist Alson Quimba said.
Quimba also said they will form local committees on organic agriculture at the provincial, city and municipal levels as part of the ground work for the implementation of Republic Act 10068 of 2010.
“This is one of our major targets for 2013,” he said, although he pointed out that the provincial and municipal agriculture offices have already designated focal persons.
Bukidnon passed an organic agriculture code in 2011 patterned after RA 100068.
The code set an annual allocation of P5 million budget for organic agriculture in Bukidnon. For this year, however, only P3 million was allocated, provincial board member Ranulfo Pepito said.
Quimba said P2 million from the budget would be spent on the education component of the program.
Pepito, the proponent of the code said the ordinance is the first in Northern Mindanao and will protect Bukidnon’s “advantage in agriculture.”
“(It is) to protect and advance the right of the small and disadvantaged farmers to food security, sustainable livelihood and social equity in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature,” Pepito, chair of the board committee on agriculture, added in his sponsorship note for the code.
Section 14 of RA10068 defines the composition of local technical committees at the provincial, city and municipal levels. Their task is to implement activities under National Organic Agriculture Program in coordination with the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standards (BAFPS).
Mavic Hilario of Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka or Pakisama-Bukidnon said it is good that the province already has its own organic agriculture code. She, however, pointed out that it still lacks implementing rules and regulations or IRR.
Pepito said the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) will draft the IRR.
Section 12 of the Act provides that in line with the National Organic Agricultural Program, the BAFPS shall submit to the National Organic Agriculture Board a plan to bring the program down to the grassroots, utilizing personnel and facilities of local government units.
The law aims to achieve cooperation not just with LGUs but also with nongovernment organizations and people’s organizations.
The country’s organic agriculture law stresses the policy to “promote, propagate, develop further and implement the practice of organic agriculture in the Philippines that 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.”
Hilario said Pakisama had submitted a proposal to the PAO for a P3.5-million project for the development of demonstration farms among organic farming practitioners in their network to be used in the advocacy. As of January 4, she said the provincial government was yet to respond to the proposal.
Quimba cited in an earlier interview with MindaNews that they are working with Pakisama in their organic agriculture program. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)