ALFONSO, CAVITE – Organic farmers of Tigaon, Camarines Sur received their second national award during the 16th National Organic Agriculture Congress held at Camp Bejamin, this town on November 12, 2019.

Elmer Salazar, 43 year old organic producer of barangay Huyon-huyon bagged the National Outstanding Small Farmer category. He received P200,000 cash award.

Meanwhile, The Agri Planters and Food Processors Association of Tigaon (TAPFPAT) was adjudged as National Outstanding Organic Farmers’ Group. The group received P500,000 cash award.

Salazar is currently the president of TAPFPAT, a group of 68 organic farmers granted with 3rd party certification by the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines. These farmers were also registered with the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards as producers of organic rice seeds and assorted vegetables and are also compliant to the Philippine National Standard (PNS) for organic agriculture since 2011.

Also recognized during the awarding were the national finalists to the various categories: Sienna C. Sombrero of Tigaon for national Outstanding Municipal OA Focal Person, Luisita Navo of Baao, Cam. Sur for Agricultural Extension Worker category; Amata family of Goa for OA farming family category.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar in his keynote speech, stressed his support to the Organic Agriculture Program. “Ako ay sumusuporta sa Organikong Agrikultura,” said Sec. Dar. He also emphasized the importance of analyzing the condition of the country’s 11 million to 12 million hectares of agricultural land to come up with informed decisions. “May sakit na ang ating kalupaaan, so I advocate the use of organic materials,” added Sec. Dar.

To help organic farmers in availing organic certification, Sec. Dar announced that DA has revised the Organic Agriculture Standards, and the final document will be issued at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, DA Undersecretary Evelyn Laviña, Alternate Chairperson of the National Organic Agriculture Board, in her speech, announced that the proposed amendments to the Organic Agriculture Act is already undergoing the required legislative process in the Congress and Senate. The major provision for amendment is the institutionalization of the Participatory Guarantee System or PGS which will ease the stumbling block to organic certification.

Christopher Morales, National Program Coordinator of Organic Agriculture Program reported that among the Asian countries, the Philippines ranks 5th in terms of number of organic producers with 166,001 organic farmers and 4th in terms of organic area with 200,065 hectares.

This year’s theme is “Organikong Agrikultura sa Kumikitang Kabuhayan para sa Kalusugan at Kapaligiran. (Lovella P. Guarin)