Salceda eyes organic Albay by 2016

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By Nancy Ibo Mediavillo

LEGAZPI CITY — The Provincial Government of Albay has gone full blast in enlarging the coverage of organic farming in the province.

Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda said this is in line with the implementation of Republic Act. No. 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, which asks local government units to have organic farming. Based on the Act, five percent of the total agricultural land of every province, town, or city should have gone organic by 2016.

In Albay, the implementation of the RA10068 was strengthened by Provincial Ordinance No. 001-2013 passed on Sept. 6, 2013 by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay headed by Vice Governor Harold Imperial. The ordinance was authored by Board Member Ramon Alsua, a known agriculturist and agricultural landowner.

Eleanor Daep, senior provincial agriculturist and contact person of the Provincial Organic Agriculture, said the province has a total agricultural land area of 145,503.35 hectares (ha). Of these, 20,675 ha are irrigated; 5,478 ha are rainfed; 108 ha are upland; 99,976 ha, coconut land; 8,334 ha, corn; 4,624 ha, abaca; 1,167 ha, pili; and 5,141.35 ha for high-value commercial crops including vegetables, root crops and bananas.

Daep said the five-percent requirement for conversion into organic farm aims to protect the state of health of the entire community and the environment as well as the interest of the farmers. She said every LGU has a Local Technical Committee for the program, which is headed by the chief executive with members from the departments of Science and Technology, Environment and Natural Resources, Education and Health and farmers' organization.

The committee's main function is to study the appropriate programs in an area and endorse necessary actions to enhance the organic farming program. Among these are a series of training sessions on the manufacture of organic fertilizer, pesticide and other farm inputs.

Daep said there are areas in the province that are known for organic farming like the town of Polangui, with its muscovado sugar product and Kawa-Kawa in Ligao City that serves as a learning site for organic farming and is headed by Dexter Mendoza.

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