The Department of Agriculture will hasten the approval of organic agriculture project proposals submitted by farmers, non-government organizations and local government units from Negros Occidental, DA Undersecretary for Special Concerns Bernadette Romulo-Puyat told the DAILY STAR yesterday.
Romulo-Puyat, who has been in Bacolod City since Tuesday for the Organic Agriculture Board meeting, said they need to scrutinize the proposals submitted before approving them.
Aside from Puyat, ten of her technical staff also came to Negros Occidental to teach those engaged in organic farming how to make correct and comprehensive proposals.
Puyat said so far they have received 50 proposals that are now under evaluation. They need to be very careful in evaluating them, especially those from non-government organizations, she said.
She added that they see to it that the NGOs submitting proposals are legitimate because of controversies involving the channeling of pork barrel funds to the illegitimate recipients by some government officials re,cently.
Records from the Organik na Negros! Organic Producers and Retailers Association show that Negros Occidental is earning P500 million from the sale of its organic products annually, or a total of P41.66 million monthly.
Ramon Uy, president of the Organik na Negros! Organic Producers and Retailers Association said there are about 7,500 organic farmers in Negros Occidental selling organic products like green bananas, mascuvado, coffee, rice and herbal products both locally and internationally while the province’s organic farming now covers 10,000 hectares, making it the biggest producer of organic products in the country, he said.
It only shows that Negros Occidental is the “trail blazer” as far as organic farming is concerned, and that is the reason why they are inviting officials from other areas to visit the province, Romulo-Puyat said.
Five to ten years from now, organic farming will be one of the top industries in Negros Occidental, aside from sugar production, Romulo Puyat also said.
She noted that when they went to Paris, France most of the organic products she brought came from Negros Occidental since the organic products here are already European Union-certified.*APN