Organic farming yields profit, healthier produce: Kiko

Pangilinan bill offers support to farmers to go organic
Organic farming yields profit, healthier produce: Kiko

MANILA — Help is on the way to small farmers and organizations engaged in organic farming under a bill authored by Senator Francis Pangilinan.

Senate Bill 34 or the proposed Act Providing for the Development and Promotion of Organic Agriculture seeks to prioritize small farmers in the delivery of support services to make their farming sustainable.

The bill also provides representation to non-government organizations and farmers in the National Organic Agriculture Board to ensure that their concerns are addressed.

“Kailangan nating ipakita sa ating mga magsasaka na ang organikong pagsasaka ay sulit sa kanilang panahon at pangmatagalan para mahikayat silang sumama sa dumaraming bilang ng mga tagapagtaguyod ng ganitong uri ng agrikultura (We need to show our farmers that organic farming will be worth their while and will be sustainable to encourage them to contribute to the country’s growing number of advocates of non-traditional method of agriculture),” said the organic farmer.

The measure seeks to amend Republic Act 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, which earlier institutionalized the development and promotion of organic agriculture in the country.

The law envisioned that at least 5% of the country’s agricultural lands be devoted to the practice of organic farming by 2016.

“Hindi ito natupad hanggang ngayon dahil sa hindi sapat na suporta mula sa pamahalaan at ang problema ng pagkakanya-kanya, at iba pa (This has not been achieved to date owing to insufficient support from government and the problem of inclusivity, among others),” Pangilinan said.

“Upang mapalakas ang sektor, dapat ang mga pangangailangan ng mga maliliit na magsasaka at mga magsasakang nagsasagawa ng organikong pagsasaka, at ang mga nagpaplano na lumipat sa organikong pagsasaka ay natutugunan (To boost the sector, it is necessary that the needs of smallholder farmers and farmworkers who practice organic farming, and those who are planning to shift to organic farming are met),” he added.

In his bill, Pangilinan underscored the establishment of a Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) which will have an association practicing organic agriculture that will certify the products and produce to be promoted and accepted.

The PGS, aside from the representatives of farmers’ groups and the local government unit, who will meet regularly to discuss developments on the organic farming program.

“Inaasahan nating kokonsiderahin ng ating mga kasamahan ang panukalang batas na ito (We hope our colleagues will give this bill a chance),” Pangilinan said.

“Ang organikong pagsasaka ay nagbubunga ng kita at ng mas malusog na ani. Panahon na para gampanan nito ang papel ng pagpapakain sa isang mabilis na dumaming populasyon (Organic farming yields profit and healthier produce. It is time it played the role it deserves in feeding a rapidly growing population),” Pangilinan said as the National Nutrition Month of July ends.

For the 18th Congress, Pangilinan has filed 12 other agriculture- and environment-related bills. They are: Senate Bills 31 on Coco Levy Trust Fund, 32 on creation of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, 33 on Postharvest Facilities, 35 on Expanded Crop Insurance, 36 on Rainwater Management, 40 on Single-use Plastic Regulation, 256 on Agricultural Land Conversion Ban, 257 on Urban Agriculture, 263 on Solid Waste Importation Ban, 423 on Food Waste Reduction, SBN 638 on Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Incentives, and 639 on National Mangrove Forest Protection and Preservation.