Angara urges gov’t to roll out more programs aimed at supporting organic farmers

By Hannah Torregoza

Reelectionist Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara urged the government to roll out more programs that would support Filipino organic farmers.

Angara said the government should help the organic farming sector to survive and deliver on its promises of environmental safety, health benefits and agricultural sustainability.

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara (FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

“The government should strengthen support services for farmers who refuse to use chemical-based farm outputs and genetically-modified technologies,” Angara said.

“This should include spearheading major marketing initiatives to boost sales of organic products,” he added.

The senator from Aurora lauded the case of Koronadal City, which is aiming to become the first organic agriculture city of the SOCCSKSARGEN region.

The lawmaker noted that the city has been giving incentives to producers of organic products in a bid to encourage more local farmers to practice and venture into organic farming.

Under the program, organic producers receive cash incentives of as high as P10 per kilo for validated produce reaching the local markets.

This incentives program should be replicated nationwide to pave the way for a shift in policy orientation from synthetic to organic agriculture—a pioneering, sustainable and environmentally friendly way to produce food, according to Angara.

“I fully support organic agriculture given the social and environmental benefits that can be derived from organic products,” Angara said.

He stressed that organic farming offers a good livelihood alternative for those in the agriculture sector, who account for 60 percent of the nation’s poorest.

To achieve this, Angara said the government needs to address issues that may be stopping the farming sector from achieving its full potential.

“Farmers and fishermen continue to be handicapped by the lack of support facilities such as farm-to-market roads, irrigation networks, post-harvest facilities, fishing ports and access to credit,” Angara said.

He also said organic farming method has been proven more productive, profitable and sustainable while safeguarding the environment noting that organic farming delivers equally or more nutritious food products that contain less or no pesticide residues, and provide greater social benefits than its conventional counterpart.

“Organic farming is concerned with protecting the environment and working in harmony with existing ecosystems, including conserving water, soil and energy, and using renewable resources and natural farming cycles,” he noted.

“Overall, organic farming is better for the environment and more sustainable,” Angara said.