Exploring OA Practices in the Cordilleras: 2nd Bloggers’ Event for Organic Agriculture

Official Logo of the Organic Agriculture Program in the Philippines
Republic Act 10068, also known as the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, outlines the policy to promote, propagate, develop further and implement the practice of organic agriculture in the Philippines. Among the core areas of operation provided by the Act are : (1) policy formulation on regulation, registration, accreditation and labeling on organic agriculture; (2) research, development and extension of appropriate sustainable environment and gender friendly organic agriculture; (3) promotion and encouragement of the establishment of facilities, equipment and processing plants; and (4) implementation  of organic agriculture programs, projects and activities, including the provision and delivery of support services with focus on the farmers and other stakeholders.
The Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) as the extension arm of the Department of Agriculture does training and other extension activities to promote and educate stakeholders of the program. To further assert the Institute's critical role in advancing the country’s agriculture sector, Secretary Proceso J.  Alcala issued a Memorandum on October 21 and December 16, 2010 which tasks ATI as the technical agency for extension and as such, lead in the implementation of the organic agriculture extension, information, trainings and education activities.

What is organic agriculture?

Organic agriculture, as defined by the RA 10068 includes all agricultural systems that promote the ecologically sound, socially acceptable, economically viable and technically feasible production of food and fibers. Organic agriculture dramatically reduces external inputs by refraining from the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. It also covers areas such as but not limited to, soil fertility management, varietal breeding and selection under chemical and pesticide-free conditions, the use of biotechnology and other cultural practices that are consistent with the principles and policies of this Act, and enhance productivity without destroying the soil and harming farmers, consumers and the environment as defined by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM): Provided, That the biotechnology herein referred to shall not include genetically modified organisms or GMOs.

Bloggers' event for organic agriculture

Although the Institute has intensified its training activities on organic agriculture, people's awareness of the program and its benefits still needs to be improved. With this, the Knowledge Product and Management Division of ATI  formulated strategies to disseminate information on the program to all stakeholders. One of these strategies is the conduct of bloggers' events to spark awareness among the techie stakeholders.
Last July 17-21, 2013 I was fortunate to be in the 2nd bloggers' event held in La Trinidad, Benguet and Sagada, Mountain Province. I had been to these places especially La Trinidad were I attended three trainings/workshop relative to e-Extension Program. But in this particular event I was excited because for the first time I see La Trinidad and Sagada in a different light. The event brought us to four organic farms: 1) Lily of the Valley, MC-075 Puguis, La Trinidad, Benguet owned by Mr. Jefferson Laruan;
Jeff Laruan

2) The Master’s Garden, Brgy Pinalyok, Puguis, La Trinidad, Benguet owned by Pat Acosta;

Pat Acosta

3) Garden of Life, La Trinidad, Benguet owned by Mr. Felix Tan; and

Felix Tan

4) Organic Coffee farm, Sagada Mountain Province owned by Mr. Osenio Lay-os.

Osenio Lay-os

The activity was conducted for us to learn the different organic agriculture practices done in these farms and to write a blog about it. Personally, I came with two objectives in mind, the first is to learn how our company of bloggers blog and second, to write my own blog about the farms we visited. For the first, I learned more on blogging by observing and by asking questions. For the second, this is the start, a sort of introduction that will be followed with individual blog on each farm.

Go organic!

Sa Organiko Panalo Tayo!

Organic agriculture is the safest cultural management of agri-fishery production system, which make it the healthiest choice for farmers. Its practices provide safe and nutritious produce that are beneficial to the consumers.

Go Organic!

For more information about organic agriculture visit the ATI-RTC and/or the municipal/city agriculture office in your area. You may visit www.organic.da.gov.ph or contact:
The Farmers' Contact Center
Tel. (Toll-free): 1-800-10-982-2474
SMS (Smart): 391-32
SMS (Other Networks) 0920-946-2474
e-Mail: info@e-extension.gov.ph