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More Filipino farmers venturing into `organic farming’

AGRICULTURE • 11:45 AM Wed Mar 31, 2021
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By: 
John M. Unson
South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo (2nd from left) participated in the agriculture summit. (John Unson)

COTABATO CITY --- Organic farming can bail central Mindanao farmers out from low earnings due to production challenges and climate change, agriculture officials said.

The prospects of organic farming was discussed during the March 29-30 Regional Food Security Summit in Koronadal City, capital of South Cotabato province.

The summit, attended by more than 300 representatives from central Mindanao’s agriculture and fisheries sectors, was organized by the office of Arlan Mangelen, regional executive director of the Department of Agriculture-12.

Agriculture Undersecretary Zamzamin Ampatuan told reporters Tuesday there is an indication that the country would rise as an Asian organic farming hub soon.

“We have many farmers now venturing into organic farming and we have consumers that patronize their products a lot. Farmers in other Asian countries are still focused on chemical-based farming,” Ampatuan said.

Representatives from groups engaged in organic farming participated in the food security summit, held at a commercial function facility near the Region 12 government center along the Koronadal-General Santos Highway in Koronadal City.

Discussions on the two-day activity delved on constraints and challenges besetting the agriculture sector in Region 12.

Region 12 covers the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of Koronadal, Kidapawan, Tacurong and General Santos.

Ampatuan and Mangelen separately told reporters many residents of Region 12 now go for organic farm products, aware of its benefits to health.

“We have many farmers now into organic vegetable farming not just in the region but also in other parts of the country,” Ampatuan said.

A check with workers in a vegetable section of a leading mall in Koronadal City showed that vegetables labeled “organic” are indeed more sellable than regular farm products on display.

“These organic farm products gets sold faster, twice or thrice faster than those not labeled as organic,” a saleslady, who asked not to be identified, said in Hiligaynon vernacular.

Mangelen said they have researchers and farm technicians who can help provide farmers in Region 12 with insights on organic farming in support of the government’s food security program.

Organic farmers in the region are mostly into chemical-free propagation of vegetables and rice.

South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo and Mayor Maria Theresa Constantino of Malungon, Sarangani spoke during the summit about how local government units can help boost the productivity of Region 12’s agriculture sector.

The Local Government Code provides LGUs with powers essential to the advancement of constituent-agricultural communities through local technical and fiscal interventions.

Tamayo, a first-termer governor who is popular for his programs for South Cotabato’s farming communities, and Constantino talked about the importance of a legislative agenda in favor of the region’s agriculture sector.

Ampatuan said one of the topics during the March 29-30 summit is how the coronavirus pandemic has been affecting the productivity of farmers in Region 12.

“That is despite their not being covered by anti-COVID-19 protocols in delivering their products to the markets. Our farmers in the country are also suffering from the brunt of this pandemic,” Ampatuan said.

 

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