The Provincial Government of Bohol (PGBh) is ready to tie-up South Korea for new technology in the
improvement of organic agriculture in Bohol and other provinces in Central Visayas.

This was the statement issued by Governor Erico Aristotle C. Aumentado when he delivered a message during the 6th Regional Organic Agriculture Congress (ROAC) held at Reynas The Garden and Haven, New Calceta, Cogon, Tagbilaran City.

Gov. Aumentado was in South Korea at the middle of this month eyeing the direct importation of farm
equipment for the development of agricultural program in Bohol.

The governor emphasized that even though that the provincial government has been advocating the conventional method of farming for high production we still promoting the organic agriculture focusing not only for the household consumption but also for the tourists who have been visiting and staying in the different tourist destinations, hotels and resorts in the province.

Aumentado after delivering his message led the signing of the pledge of commitment to support organic farming as he said that agriculture is also a priority in his administration.

KEYNOTE SPEECH

Director Bernadette A. San Juan, Director-National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP)-DA Central Office
who was not able to come-up during the congress, in her prepared keynote speech delivered by Lea C. Deriquito, Chief-Advocacy and Policy Division, NOAP said the she was elated that after more than two years since the pandemic came to our shores, the conduct of ROAC is finally back, stronger and better.

She said that the development of the agricultural sector, particularly the Organic Agriculture industry is
challenging these trying times therefore, our responses are decisive, innovative, integrated, and strategic.

San Juan said that she knows that we cannot do everything at once as much as we want to, but holding relevant gathering like this ROAC serves as the pivotal point to spur participation and collaboration among and between our OA stakeholders, agripreneurs, farmers, our local chief executives, and government officials.

Fervently, the NOAC is particularly toughening up for the global challenges ahead that could dampen our food productivity and mitigation of climate change: our farmers are feeling the pinch of global rising fuel prices and costs of fertilizers, which have now tripled; the entire world has been subjected to high consumer price inflation brought by the disruption of global food supply chains during the pandemic; climate change and natural disasters are upon us, and frequency of typhoons are making agricultural damage a common sight.

San Juan said that because of these reasons, we find solutions and on the ground actions: we in the program are prioritizing the Certification of Participatory Guarantee System (PGS); establishment of OA livelihood programs; massive production of organic fertilizer and soil ameliorants through the composting facilities for Biodegradable wastes (CFBW) and Small Scale Composting Facilities (SSCF); inventory and promotion of OA zones per municipality and city.

She said that all of these will aid the dynamic and changing needs of our OA practitioners and will definitely ease the effects of climate change.

San Juan disclosed that by next year they will conduct information caravan to any part of the country to inform the public regarding the importance of R.A. 11511 that mandates the responsibility of the chief local executives to help in the promotion of OA in their respective areas.

MESSAGE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Director Joel B. Elumba, OIC-Regional Executive Director, Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office
(DA-RFO) 7 said that in order to have food safety and sustainability we should go back to Organic Agriculture it doesn’t matter if it takes a long time for the effect.

Director Elumba emphasized that originally the method of farming that has been practiced by our early ancestors is the organic agriculture. Only in 1970’s that the inorganic agriculture or method of farming using synthetic chemicals was introduced in the Philippines, he clarified.

Elumba said we should think about our health and the future health of the next generation as he encouraged the youth to take up agriculture course.

Dir. Antonio Jesus C. Orbida, Member-National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB) on his message via on line emphasized the importance of Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) for the solution to the problem of organic practitioners in marketing of their products.

Dir. Orbida said that NOAB is offering scholarship for the youth to mitigate the impact on the aging organic farmer-practitioners problem.

ISSUES AND CHALLENGES IN ORGANIC AGRICULTURE

During the presentation and discussion of OA profiles per province and FY 2023 onwards Plan and Budget
Proposals of PLGUs to be done by Maricel Barloso, Provincial Focal Person (PFP), Office of the Provincial
Agriculturist (OPA)-Bohol; Mirabel Amado, PFP, OPA-Cebu; Joshua Demerre, PFP, OPA-Negros Oriental and Rio Duhaylungsod, PFP, OPA-Siquijor, it was known the key issues and challenges in promoting OA in their respective locality.

Some of which are lack of support from the MLGUs in OA program implementation, less allocation of budget compared to other programs, poor monitoring and evaluation, lack of focal persons assigned in the LGU affecting data generation, less promotional campaign compared to conventional farming, lack of organic farming research, too many requirements for PGS certification, laborious, and lack of organic farming inputs.

Meanwhile, Mae E. Montecillo,Regional OAP Focal Person, DA-7 and Ma. Gracia S. Pungay, Regional OAP
Focal Person, ATI-7 also presented and discussed the OA Program Highlight of Accomplishments and FY 2024 onwards Plan and Budget Proposals.

The one-day congress carrying the theme “ Maunlad na Pagsasaka, Garantisado sa Organikong Agrikulturang Sinaliksik” was formally closed by Gracia F. Arado, OIC-Training Center Superintendent II, Agricultural Training Institute (ATI)-7. (Atoy Cosap)

6th REGIONAL ORGANIC AGRICULTURE CONGRESS. Gov. Erico Aristotle C. Aumentado delivers his message during the 6th Regional Organic Agriculture Congress (ROAC) held at Reynas The Garden and Haven, New Calceta St. Cogon, Tagbilaran City last Wednesday.