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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, February 17, 2011
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P20M sought to
boost organic drive


Board Member Miller Serondo, in his proposed ordinance to institutionalize, promote and develop organic agriculture in Negros Occidental,  is seeking  an initial allocation of P20 million  for its implementation, and an annual allocation thereafter of no less than P20 million.

 Serondo,  chairman of the Sanguniang Panlalawigan Committee of Agriculture, yesterday morning  held a public hearing on the ordinance  at the provincial Capitol in Bacolod City.

The hearing  was held to get inputs from interested stakeholders, which his committee will study for inclusion in the ordinance, he said.

Some of the suggestions were very good, Serondo said.

Ramon Uy Sr., president of the Organic Producers and Retailers Association of Negros Occidental, said the provisions of the proposed ordinance are well thought out and will boost the organic movement in  Negros.

The budget that they will put up will be a big help towards the production of organic products, he added.

The number one problem ten years from now will be food security so if Negros is producing organic crops it will be more independent, unlike those producing chemically grown products, Uy said.

“In growing organic products you use only indigenous materials available in your locality, you don’t have to import anything, so you will be more sustainable and independent,” he said.

Serondo said he is pushing for the passage of the ordinance in support of a Memorandum of Agreement signed  by then governors Joseph Marañon of Negros Occidental and George  Arnaiz of Negros Oriental  on Aug. 24, 2005 to protect  the biodiversity of the island  and to attain its status as “Negros Organic Island.”

“Supporting organic agriculture means supporting human health,” Serondo said.

The ordinance calls for the creation of a Negros Occidental Organic Agriculture Management Council to formulate and develop a Provincial Organic Agriculture Plan, supervise agriculture practices, monitor chemical inputs  through tissue analysis  and soil and water tests, identify and recommend organic agricultural zones, recommend a criteria for organic farms  and develop an incentive mechanism  for the organic agriculture sector.

It also calls  for the creation of an organic agriculture division  under the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist.

The ordinance also calls for the setting of standards and accreditation for organic farmers,  creation of organic farm villages, conservation of indigenous farm practices and resources, creation of an organic green seed bank, promotion or urban and backyard gardening, and provision for support services to small holder farmers.

  The ordinance also sets penalties for persons who adulterate organic inputs, imitate organic produce, and plant, sell and trade genetically modified  organisms in organic agriculture zones.

The ordinance sets punishment to no less than one month nor more than one year or a fine of not more than P500 or both  at the discretion of the court.*CPG







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