12th Bicol Organic Agri Congress draws more advocates

NAGA CITY – Over 600 organic agriculture practitioners, enthusiasts and advocates from the six provinces of Bicol gathered in one of the hotels in this city on October 21 to 22 for the 12th Bicol Organic Agriculture Congress. Engineer Christopher V. Morales, Director of the DA National Agriculture Organic Program graced the event together with Adelberto Baniqued who sits at the National organic Agriculture Board as Mindanao Small Farmer Representative and who discussed updates and new policies and guidelines on the OA program.

Director Morales commended the Bicol OA program under the leadership OIC- Regional Technical Director and concurrently Regional OA focal person, Adelina A . Losa for consistently bagging top national awards in the National Annual Search for OA Achievers and efficiently disbursing and utilizing the budget allocations for the OA program. He also noted Bicol Organic Agriculture Program’s 90% attainment by far of its target for 2019. He asserted that the OA Program is active and firm in accomplishing its goal and urged everyone to continue to support and strengthen the program. He added that the annual conduct of OA congress and recognition of the achievers is an avenue to inspire and encourage more farmers to go into organic farming.

According to DA Bicol’s OIC-Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tornilla as of September this year a total of 46,448 or 6.06% of the total agricultural area of Bicol region is either in-conversion or already converted to organic and 98 farms equivalent to 128 hectares were already certified as organic by the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines .

The event was highlighted by the conferment of awards and recognition to the seven (7) individual and group awardees for the 2019 Regional Organic Agriculture Achievers . Ligao City from Albay province was conferred as Outstanding City in Organic Agriculture and awarded a cash Prize of P300,000 and a plaque. The Agri-Planters and Food Processors Association of Tigaon (TAPFPAT) was conferred as Outstanding Organic Agriculture Small Farmer Group and received a cash prize of P100,000. The Amata Family (Florentino and Edalyn) from San Pedro in Goa, Camarines Sur was conferred as Outstanding OA Small Farm Family and awarded P50,000. Meanwhile, Elmer Salazar was conferred Outstanding OA Small Individual Farmer and received P50,000. Lorenzo Intia from Caraycayon in Tigaon, Camarines Sur was conferred Outstanding Young Farmer in OA and received P30,000.

The Agricultural Extension workers who have been at the frontline assisting the OA farmers were also recognized and awarded . They were: Sienna Sombrero Of LGU Tigaon as Outstanding OA Municipal Focal person and received P20,000 and Luisita Navo as Outstanding OA extension Worker and received P15,000. All the awardees were also given plaque of appreciation. All these regional winners will vie for the national award which will be announced and conferred during the National OA Congress at Camp Benjamin in Alfonso Cavite on November 12-14, 2019

Also recognized and given cash prizes were the most promising awardees namely: Municipality of Tigaon as Most Promising Municipality; Borabo family of Tigaon as Most Promising Small Farming Family; Rossini Obligacion, Angelica Sapon and Vincer Quibral as Most promising Individual farmers; Grace Dejumo as Most Promising City Focal person and Felix Gino Murillo as Most promising Extension Worker.

Successful and model organic agriculture practitioners shared their best practices and experiences revolving on this year’s adapted theme: Organikong Agrikultura sa Mauswag na Kabuhayan para sa Marhay na Salud asin Kapalibutan . These include Fr. Ian Trillanes of Emiliano’s Nature Farm, Cherry T. Lo of Sonrisa Farm; Josephine Artiaga of St. Francis Sta. Rita Nature’s Farm, Jose Obligacion of Joross Farm . Patrick Belisario who discussed Sustainable Livelihood & their Impact to Environment

Adding color and drawing crowds to this year’s regional OA regional congress were the selling booths of various organic products from the six provinces. Twenty three (23) exhibitors participated in the mini fair and brisk selling was noted as more consumers are now clamoring for organic and naturally grown or processed products .

The event was capped by the drafting and presentation of Resolutions. (EMILY B. BORDADO/DA-RAFISV)