Providing an avenue to share good news and policy updates in the Organic Agriculture program, the Department of Agriculture-Ilocos Region conducted today September 29,2022 the 4th Regional Organic Agriculture Congress at Purok Marcela Resort, Lingayen, Pangasinan.

An activity attended by the organic agriculture practitioners in the region, the one day congress paved way for DA to give updates on the new programs and projects under the Organic Agriculture Program that hopes to encourage more farmers to go into organic farming and expand further the area for organic agriculture in Ilocos Region.

Dr. Marvin Quilates, Region I’s Organic Agriculture Program Focal Person discussed some of the major accomplishments of the program. He reported that Ilocos Region has now 1,043 hectares devoted to organic farming based on the cumulative OA areas from 2012-2021.

Mentioning the Programang Babangon sa Bayaning Magsasaka or PBBM, a joint Philippine-Japan project proposal which adopts organic farming technologies on rice production using traditional rice seeds, Dr. Quilates expressed high hopes for the approval of the project.

With Ilocos Norte as one of the pilot area in the region for the program, the organic rice production technologies of the Don Bosco Multi-purpose Cooperative from South Cotabato shall be adopted using the clustering and consolidation concept.

Dr. Quilates also mentioned some amendments on the policies of the Organic Agriculture program particularly on the development of the Participatory Guaranteed System (PGS) which provide an alternative to a third-party certifying body that provides greater chance for area expansion in organic farming.

Ilocos Region has now one PGS Certified core group which is the PGS Pangasinan composed of 5 certified organic farms in Pangasinan. It is so far yet the second PGS certified core group entire the country according to NOAP representative Ms. Ma. Teresita Lasaca. The first region to have PGS Certification is the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

Meanwhile, Pangasinan Provincial Agriculturist, Ms. Dalisay Moya expressed in her message the timeliness and importance of organic farming noting the high cost of fertilizer in the market. With organic farming, she said that farmers can produce healthy organic foods using available raw materials/crop residues as fertilizer.

Mr. Ramon Bautista, Jr., Political Affairs Officer of the Office of Governor Ramon Guico III supported the idea of promoting organic farming by consuming organic products and to directly purchase them from organic farmers.

“We could serve the hospitals with organic products as a way to support our orgamic farmers,” Bautista said.

Meanwhile, supporting the idea of patronizing organic products for the benefit of the next generation and for sustainable livelihood and income of practitioners, Dr. Annie Q. Bares, DA-RFO I OIC Regional Executive Director, assured DA’s full support to organic farmers and to further promote and develop Organic Agriculture in the region.

“We can assure a healthy citizenry and a clean and safe environment thru organic farming.”, Dir. Bares said.

With the P18.9 million fund for organic agriculture program, Dr. Bares expressed optimism that more GAP certified farms will be converted to organic farms soon.###