NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
The three-day first Organic Agriculture Festival in Region 7 conducted by the province of Bohol last Wednesday to Friday at the Bohol Cultural Center, Tagbilaran City was significantly a success.
The Provincial Government of Bohol through the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), Kapunungan sa Bol-anong Organikong Mag-uuma (KBoOM), Department of Agriculture (DA), Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and other agri-line agencies aggressively conducted the festival which is the first of its kind in Region 7 comprising the four provinces to wit: Cebu, Negros Oriental, Siquijor and Bohol.
According to KBoOM president Marilou Escalona the festival aims to spark awareness of the need of having a healthy lifestyle by advocating organic methods and practices, encouraging more farmers to adopt natural “ organic farming”, establish sustainable organic agriculture in the province of Bohol, transform conventional farming methods into organic farming practices, create a network of organic enterprise that farmers can use for collaborations and further develop their businesses.
Escalona added that the festival serves as a venue for major marketing promotional event that highlights the agri-fishery display of fresh, organic agricultural and processed products coming from different farming communities to be integrated with tourism circuits in the province.
In the opening program, Governor Erico Aristotle C. Aumentado in his prepared inspirational message read by Executive Assistant Gil Bongato, the governor lauded those who worked for the success of the first Organic Agriculture Festival in Bohol which is first in region 7.
Gov. Aumentado said that agriculture remained to be the biggest sector in our province in terms of the working populace and with that our province remained to be considered a food granary in Central Visayas Region.
He said that today is a great day for us Boholanos as we are able to celebrate our first Organic Festival and witness our organic and naturally grown local products.
Indeed, it is also a celebration of the collective efforts of the organic practitioners that would also show the greater collaboration among agri-line agencies to continue building momentum for the accelerated development of agriculture.
In his message, Vice-Gov. Dionisio Victor Balite who is the chair of the Committee on Agriculture in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bohol said that he proposed that this activity would be institutionalized and be conducted annually.
Vice-Gov. Balite emphasized that organic farming helps in healing our mother earth from calamities wrought about by climate change.
Regional Technical Director Wilberto Castillo, DA-7 said that DA has continued its strong support of organic farming so as to produce safe and good foods.
He said that DA is balancing its program in promoting organic and conventional methods of farming to ensure sufficient food supplies in the region.
Congressman Edgar M. Chatto (1stDist.) represented by Atty. Abeleon R. Damalerio, Board Member Lucille Y. Lagunay (1st Dist.), Tagbilaran City Mayor Jane Censoria Cajes-Yap, Garcia Hernandez Mayor Jess Baja for and in behalf of League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Bohol Charter President Dave Duallo expressed their strong supports to organic farming.
On the second day of the activity, some topics were discussed by the best resource persons.
Professor Jose T. Travero talked about Organic Agriculture Practices, Updates on the Organic Agriculture program were discussed by Mae E. Montecillo (Regional Organic Agriculture Focal Person), while Dir. Antonio Jesus (Jet) C. Orbida (Member, National Organic Agriculture Board) also gave the Updates on Participatory Guarantee System.
Prof. Travero defined organic farming as an agricultural production system that avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetically compounded fertilizers, growth regulators, pesticides, livestock, additives, and genetically engineered products. It combines tradition, innovation, and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and good quality of life for all involved.
The three days organic agriculture festival bringing the theme “ Display of Organically and Naturally Grown Local Products “ was participated by 38 exhibitors namely: LGU-Duero, LGU- San Miguel, LGU Albur, LGU-Dagohoy, St. Claire Organic Farmers Association, Lacto Pafi, Marcela Farms, Kaabag ni Bro, PARECO Management Services, Green Gardens of Hope, Behind Suba Integrated Farm, Merfe’s Organically Grown Garden, YACO’S Farm, Kapunungan sa Bol-anong Organikong Mag-uuma, Mely’s Farm, Dungaw Farm, JQL Organic Farm, Atbang Farm, Egay’s Farm,The FRMCY, Lasang Farm, CHC Agritech, Cecee’s Organic Farm and Cacao Nursery, Liboron Organic Farmers and Cacao Growers Assssssociation, Omamalin’s Farm, SS Mushroom Farm, Bohol Purple Women Association and South Farm. (Atoy Cosap)