The Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office I, through the Organic Agriculture Program, conducted the 5th Regional Organic Agriculture Congress (ROAC) with the theme, “Kabuhayang OA, Kinabukasang OK” at Centennial Arena, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on August 31, 2023.

The congress convened around 200 stakeholders composing of organic agriculture practitioners in the region, organic farming advocates, staff from Local Government Units, Provincial Organic Agriculture Focal Persons, and the academe as well as the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB).

The event was graced by SUC Representative of NOAB Dir. Adeflor Garcia, Small Farmer Representative of NOAB Dir. Antonio Jesus Orbida, Vice Governor Cecilia Araneta Marcos, Atty. Pancho Jose who represented Governor Matthew Joseph M. Manotoc, Engr. Ma. Theresa Bacnat, officer-in-charge of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Agriculture Office, Regional Organic Agriculture Program Focal Person Dr. Marvin Quilates, and INREC Chief Mr. Medardo Pablo who represented DA-RFO1 Regional Executive Director Dr. Annie Q. Bares.

NOAB SUC Representative Dir. Adeflor Garcia emphasized the importance of soil and the reduction in soil health as a global threat to sustainability of all agri-food production. Dir. Garcia reminded the participants to take part in the soil conversation advocacy, while NOAB Small Farmer Representative Dir. Antonio Jesus Orbida also discussed the NOAP initiatives and how the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) was incorporated into the Organic Agriculture Law.

Vice Governor Cecilia Araneta Marcos also showed her support in Organic farming and urged the organic practitioners to increase their drive in producing organic food.

“I laud all your efforts kasi meron pang adbokasiya na maging healthy ang komunidad, maging health ang pamilya, at maging healthy ang probinsya.” she said.

Mr. Dale Russeth Gabanes, Promotions Manager at the National Organic Agriculture Board, introduced the company, Healthy Options, the first and largest all-natural and organic products retailer, and discussed the company;s history as well as potential market opportunities for organic practitioners in the region.

The Regional Organic Agriculture Congress (ROAC) intends to bring together organic agriculture practitioners from around the region in order to provide them with wider marketing opportunities as well as discuss industry’s latest trends and concerns. The activity is also an opportunity to present the accomplishments and 2025 goals for the organic agriculture farming sector by province.