Villar, designated “Ambassador of the Woman in Organic Agriculture in Asia"
Senator Cynthia A. Villar has been appointed as “Ambassador of the Woman in Organic Agriculture in Asia in the Philippines” or WOAA-Ph, IFOAM-Asia and the League of Organic Agriculture Municipalities, Cities and Provinces during the 6th Organic Asia Congress hosted by Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte last June 4-6.
“As Organic Agriculture Ambassador, I am determined to continue promoting the transition to affordable - environment friendly agricultural practices and making available to many Filipinos healthy and affordable nutritious organic food, abandoning the use of costly and soil degrading chemical fertilizer and pesticides, “ assured Villar.
Villar was appointed “Organic Ambassador” because of her significant work in promoting organic agriculture.
In 2020, she worked for the passage of RA 11511 (An Act Amending the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010), which aims to institutionalize the Participatory Guarantee System or PGS as a cheaper organic certification scheme of P1,200.00 per product per year for organic products versus the expensive third party certification costing P150,000.00 per product per year.
The law also provided for the inclusion of representatives from NGOs in the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB), the policy-making and implementation arm of the organic agriculture programs of the Department of Agriculture.
Villar pursues her personal organic advocacy to enrich the fertility of the soil, increase farm productivity, reduce pollution and waste to prevent destruction of the environment.
Since 2002, in her hometown Las Pinas City, Villar has initiated a composting program which saves the local government more than PHP300 million annually by recycling 50 percent of waste into organic fertilizer. She has established 139 composting facilities nationwide, 89 of which are placed in the 20 barangays of Las Piñas and another 50 in Vista Land communities nationwide using kitchen and garden waste.
Villar has been giving away free vegetable seeds and compost to promote home, urban and school gardening since 2019.
“The project touches the lives of many vegetable enthusiasts who are interested in home gardening and farmers too because of the high cost of synthetic fertilizer.”
She has been promoting the teaching of organic agriculture and its application in her four (4) farm schools located in Las Piñas-Bacoor, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan, San Miguel, Iloilo and in Buhangin, Davao City, which were established in 2015, 2016, 2021 respectively.
Since she became the Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform, Villar has also influenced the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), the National High Value Crops Program, the National Organic Agriculture Program and recently, the National Rice Program to promote composting and for the procurement and distribution of composting facilities for LGUs and farmer's organizations nationwide.
Over 2,000 organic advocates and practitioners of sustainable agriculture, both local and foreign, attended the event.
Mayor Rommel C. Arnado spearheaded the event which showed the best organic practices of Municipality which is now 100 percent organic.
Meanwhile, the said event also brought together local governments and the organic sector from various Asian nations and discussed the main trends in the movement and methods for advancement of organic agriculture.
Mayor Arnado considers Villar as a true and real partner of these organizations in pursuing the goals of organic agriculture. Arnado is the President of League of Organic Agriculture Municipalities, Cities and Provinces in the Philippines (LOAMCP) and also the new President of the Alliance of Local Governments in Organic Agriculture (ALGOA), which works with over 200 local governments in Asia to promote the expansion of organic agriculture. He is also co-president of the Global Alliance for Organic Districts, a sub-organization of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)