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