For the first time, progressive groups, environmentalists, local government units and the academe have joined forces to promote organic farming to help solve the country’s food crisis.
At a news conference in Quezon City, Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza of Pangasina announced the involvement of the Paragos-Pilipinas, the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), Centro Saka, Inc., La Liga Policy Institute, SRI-Pilipinas, Education for Life Foundation, University of the Philippines-Las Baños, Philippine Greens, Earth Day Network and Malasimbu Farmers’ Cooperative as well as actress Chin-Chin Guiterrez and pop music artist Joey Ayala as endorsers to mount an advocacy to propagate organic food rather than conventional food.
The campaign is dubbed “Go Organic!”
In a joint statement read by former CDA Director and DAR Undersecretary Atty. Efren Moncupa, the group emphasized the benefits of organic farming. He said that organic farming will boost farmers’ incomes, improve the environment and promote biodiversity, provide good quality food and promote non-toxic Filipino farms.
Alaminos City Mayor Braganza said, “I am proud and honored to be here joining hands with collegues from the non-governmental and farmers’ organizations, environment networks and the academic community in the promotion of organic farming.”
Organic food has been proven by nutritionists and dieticians to be healthier and safer than food produced through conventional farming, or the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical substances, the statement added.
“I encourage the public and local officials even in highly urbanized areas, such us in Metro Manila, to plant in their own backyards to produce organic food. Organic food tastes better,” Braganza said.
Some 85,000 Alaminos residents support the Go Organic! Campaign via the Agrivolution program for food safety, improvement of health conditions of farmers and consumers and environmental protection.
“Waste production is important to generate organic fertilizer. Alaminos has been lucky for being able to product organic food to ensure a good future for our children,” Braganza noted.
The Local Government Code of 1991 mandates local government units (LGUs) to make agriculture and waste management programs as one of their primary responsibilities in pursuit of sustainable agriculture and food sufficiency of the country.
Isagani R. Serrano. PRRM acting president, urged the government to implement organic farming under the FIELDS (Fertilizer, Irrigation, Extension and Education, Loans, Dryers and Post-Harvest Support, Seeds) program in at least 10 percent out of the total coverage of 1.9 million hectares of irrigated and rain-fed rice farms in 49 provinces.
The production of organic rice complements ecological solid waste management under the Zero Basura Olympics targeting the closure of dumps in 300 days. “Amid hunger, food insecurity, fuel crisis and climate change, organic agriculture is the answer. It is done world-wide”, Serrano stressed.
March 8, 2014, Cocoon Boutique Hotel
Quezon City, Philippines