Cotabato City (October 18, 2018) – To strengthen the advocacy and promotion of organic agriculture in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), over 400 farmers, agricultural extension workers, students, and other stakeholders convened here for the two-day Organic Agriculture Congress.
ARMM’s Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF-ARMM) Secretary Alexander Alonto emphasized that the congress is a good venue for the farmers and other agricultural stakeholders to be informed on organic food production, modern farming methods, and business opportunities related to organic farming.
“We really strengthen the organic agriculture program in the region in order to attain over-all agricultural growth and development,” Sec. Alonto said adding that the activity will also be a platform to address issues concerning organic farming.
Mohammad Amal, agricultural education student of Mindanao State University – Maguindanao, said he hopes that organic farming will be propagated and implemented throughout the region considering its many benefits.
“Bilang isang anak ng magsasaka, nakita ko kung ano ang mga masasamang dulot ng paggamit ng kemikal sa pagkain na galing sa pagsasaka dahil hindi lang naman mga magsasaka ang maa-apektuhan kundi pati iyong mga taong kakain nito,” he said.
Sec. Alonto explained that organic farming enriches the fertility of soil, increases farm productivity, reduces destruction of the environment, and protects the health of farmers and consumers. During the event, DAF-ARMM also gave recognition to farmers who have made significant contributions in the promotion and development of organic agriculture industry in the region.
The achievers in this field include Abdulhalim Alih from Sulu, who was hailed as the region’s best agricultural extension worker. He received P20,000 in cash prize. Pheparassan Macapodi from Lanao del Sur bagged the most outstanding farmer in individual category receiving P50,000; while the Busikong Greenland Multipurpose Cooperative in Maguindanao was awarded the most outstanding small farmer association in the group category and was given P100,000 in cash prize.
Macapodi, 52 years old, said that aside from the health benefits of organic farming, it also helps in reducing production costs because expensive chemicals and fertilizers are no longer needed in the farming process.
“Simula bata pa ako nagsasaka na kami at noong 2015 lang po namin nalaman ang organic farming. At dahil doon tumigil na kami sa paggamit ng mga kemikal at nag-umpisa saorganic farming,” Macapodi said. She also encouraged other farmers who still use chemicals to shift to organic farming.
With the transition of the ARMM to the new Bangsamoro entity, Sec. Alonto said the regional government is confident that the farmers will apply the best organic agriculture practices leading to the development and advancement of the region’s organic farming industry.
Meanwhile, the public may avail of fresh produce and processed organic products from the different provinces in the region in an exhibit and trade fair that opened on Thursday, October 18, inside the ORG compound in this city.
SOURCE: (Bureau of Public Information)
October 18, 2018 @ 17:13