ALFONSO, Cavite—Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar called for collective support in lowering the cost of production for organic agriculture during the 16th National Organic Agriculture Congress (NOAC).
“The challenge today for the organic agriculture sector is to further reduce the cost of production and increase productivity so that, at the end of the day, the products being sold in the market become more affordable,” he said.
Around 1,800 organic agriculture practitioners, program implementers from DA, its bureaus, and attached agencies, and partners from national and local government institutions took part in the congress. This year, the event carried the theme “OA4K: Organikong Agrikultura sa Kumikitang Kabuhayan para sa Kalusugan at Kapaligiran.”
In his keynote speech, Dar reiterated his support to the development of the organic agriculture industry as provided by the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 or Republic Act No. 10068. He affirmed his commitment to increase the number of organic agriculture practitioners, which will be done “step by step.”
Dar also shared the Department’s efforts to streamline and simplify the processes in securing certification for organic produce and the standards for organic fertilizer.
“Let’s simplify things. Let’s give a chance to those who have organic products to properly register without too much expenses,” he said.
This effort is also in line with the New Thinking strategy of the Department in terms of inclusive agribusiness approach through a value chain system. This ensures that farmers and fishers have more sources of income through value-adding, processing, manufacturing, and marketing activities.
“However, with all of us being part of the solution, and because your Secretary cannot handle this alone, we harness the power of the farming and fishing communities. We harness the best of science and technology and the support of the Cabinet and the legislators,” he added.
The week-long congress included knowledge-sharing, skills enhancement, and marketing activities. A plenary session was held where farm tourism, Korean natural farming practices, and updates on the Participatory Guarantee System Updates were discussed.
Breakout sessions on different topics were also conducted featuring experts and practitioners of organic farming. The topics were grouped into four categories, namely, organic technologies, marketing, research, and policy.
Meanwhile, around 60 resolutions from regional representatives and stakeholders were endorsed to the National Organic Agriculture Board to strengthen the implementation of the National Organic Agriculture Program in the country. Exhibits, showcase of organic farms, and the awarding ceremonies for this year’s National Organic Agriculture Achievers were also held.
Highlighting the rich Pahiyas tradition and the culture of the five provinces in CALABARZON, the 16th NOAC was held last November 11-15, 2019 at Camp Benjamin, Brgy. Taywanak in this town.