MANILA, Philippines – Various groups have banded together to form a new organization called One Organic Movement that will work for the development of organic agriculture in the Philippines.
Led by the Philippine Development Assistance Program (PDAP), the group is composed of La Liga Pilipinas/Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, Organic Products and Traders Association, Organic Certification Center of the Philippines, Altertrade, Infanta Community Development Association Inc., Don Bosco Foundation for Sustainable Development, SIAD Initiatives in Mindanao Convergence for Asset Reform and Regional Development and the Philippine Network of Rural Development Institutes, Inc.
Jerry E. Pacturan, executive director of PDAP, said the launch of the One Organic Movement is a major step in presenting a united front to convince government to give more support to organic agriculture.
Pacturan said that the group believes that promoting organic agriculture, or agriculture without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, would save the government billions of pesos in fertilizer support and ensure the continued health of agricultural land and its workers.
As its initial activity, the One Organic Movement has crafted a unified organic agriculture bill designed to, among others, set unified standards for organic products, help farmers planning to convert to organic agriculture and put a stop to the rampant conversion of fertile, agricultural land into commercial establishments.
The One Organic Movement will work closely with the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB), composed of private sector and government representatives, to improve the implementation of Executive Order 481 issued in December of 2005.
The NOAB, the government body tasked to craft and approve policies and programs on organic agriculture, has accepted the proposals and committed to work with the Department of Agriculture to improve the rules and regulations under EO 481.
Pacturan said there is an urgent need to promote organic agriculture due to the twin issues of climate change and the still-expensive chemical inputs such as fertilizers and insecticides.
He added that while the global economic crisis has caused significant belt tightening the world over, the demand for organic products here and abroad continues to grow because of increasing health consciousness.
The Philippine market for organic products is estimated to be worth $20 million and is growing by over 20 percent a year.
Even the House of Representatives, Pacturan said, recognizes the need to promote agriculture. The House recently passed a bill to promote organic agriculture, partly through inclusion of organic agriculture concepts in the education curriculum. –Marianne V. Go, Philippine Star