Groups push Mindanawon to be next agri secretary

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/26 May) — Various groups are pushing for the appointment of a Mindanawon expert on organic agriculture as the next agriculture secretary.

Being groomed for the top post of the Department of Agriculture by organic agriculture advocates is Jerry E. Pacturan, executive director of the non-government organization Philippine Development Assistance Programme (PDAP) and chair of the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP).

Eighteen grassroots organizations and local government officials from all over the country have written president-elect Noynoy Aquino in their endorsement of Pacturan as the next DA secretary. Their letters were sent to media via email today.

Among the groups and personalities supporting Pacturan are Cordillera Organic Agri-Development Council, Inc.; Antique Federation of Cooperatives; Ifugao Gov. Teodoro Brawner Baguilat Jr.; Integrated Bar of the Philippines Misamis Oriental Chapter; Sultan Kudarat Muscovado Farmers & Millers Corporation; the municipality of Sitangkai in Tawi-tawi; and the Sta. Catalina Multipurpose Cooperative in President Roxas town in North Cotabato.

Pacturan was among three organic farming advocates being pushed by the One Organic Movement for the DA top post. The other two are former Agriculture Secretary Leonardo Montemayor and outgoing Quezon Province Rep. Procy Alcala.

“With the enactment of the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 or Republic Act 10068, organic agriculture is emerging as one of the major strategies for the country’s agriculture development and an adaptation strategy in response to climate change,” the organic advocates’ press statement said.

“We have seen that even within the DA and the private sector organic agriculture is gaining wide acceptance,” Pacturan was quoted as saying.

He further said that if ever he will get the DA post, , he would ensure that organic agriculture and science and technology, including the use of bio-technology following organic agriculture principles, will have to contribute towards agriculture development.

As a former member of the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB), Pacturan was one of the staunchest lobbyist for the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010. His term in the NOAB expired in March this year.

Pacturan has been a grassroots development worker with more than 25 years experience in community organizing and development. He is also a member of the board of trustees of the Jesuit-run Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan and was given an “Outstanding Alumnus Award in the Field of Social Development” during the school’s 75th year celebration in 2008. (MindaNews)