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Inqury, In Aid Of Legislation on the Implementaion of the National Organic Program

INQUIRY, IN AID OF LEGISLATION ON THE “IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NATIONAL ORGANIC PROGRAM”

P.S.R. No. 1400, Monday, 17 August, 2015, 9:00 AM, Sen. Pecson Room, 2/F Senate of the Philippines, GSIS Bldg., Pasay City

Resource Persons:

Senator Cynthia A. Villar – Senate Committee Chair, Agriculture and Food

USec. Berna Romulo-Puyat – DA Special Concerns

Asec. Edilberto De Luna – Regions/Field Operations

Director Asterio Saliot – ATI

BSWM Representative

BAR Representative

Ms. Elsa Parot, Program Coordinator NOAP-NPMO

Director Karen Kristine A. Roscom, DA - DAFS

SUC Presidents – Benguet State Ben Ladilad; CLSU – OIC Dr. Raul Divina

Ms. Leilani Katimbang Limpin, OCCP Executive Director

Ms. Sandra Celi, Founder, Spread Organic Agriculture in the Philippines

Accordingly, the objective of the program is to promote, propagate, and implement the practice of organic agriculture in the country. The program promotes healthy food, healthy soils and water and the preservation of the environment. The key components of the program for 2011-2016 are – institution development and strengthen; research and development; production and technology support; extension and capability building; promotion, advocacy and education; market development and results-based monitoring.

Some problems identified is the depletion of the country’s soil nutrients and soil productivity. There are areas in the country where soil has been degraded and suffering from soil acidity, low in organic matter and deficient in zinc and sulfur because of the continuous use of chemical fertilizers. The use of compost has not been equated to increase in crop yield and economic benefits.

The National Organic Agriculture Board is required to render annual report to both Houses of Congress on the accomplishment of the Program. A review on the viability of the program shall be made by the concerned agencies after 3 years of implementation.

The implementing units of the Department of Agriculture are the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), PhilMech, AMAS and the DA Regional Field Offices.

It is very important for the Senate to look into the mandate of Republic Act 1006 which set to establish and create a National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP). The policy and direction setting of the program is through the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB). This year 2015 has been declared by the UN FAO as the Year of Soils, and finally by 2016 at least five percent (5%) of farms in the country should have been converted into organic farms.

Observation during the hearing:

  • Too many training programs but there is no actual project implementation due to lack of equipment and machines or facilities. No technology transfer.

  • There is no measurable impact of activities to beneficiaries.

  • There are only two certifiers of organic farms. The price for certification is prohibitive.

  • One certifier was reportedly charging excessive fees. DA has no support for certification.

  • Vermi composting which is being promoted by BSWM is slow and inefficient compared to composting facilities with shredder and squizzers.

  • There is No accomplishment report has been submitted to both Houses of Congress so far.

  • Budget for Organic Agriculture should not be made via lump sum funds.

  • The NOAP – management office is not in-charge of monitoring the implementation of programs and projects by the operating units.

  • Were the targets for 2014 and 2015 accomplished show the committee the rate/percentage of accomplishment of their programs.

  • The suggested improvements on the implementation of the National Organic Agriculture Program was sought.

There being no other matter to discuss, Chair adjourned the hearing at 2:45 PM.

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