Davao’s Organic Farmers Rally for Concrete Support

Apr. 11, 2007

Organic producers in Davao City are saying that the support shown to them by the city government is sending them a mixed feeling of happiness and hope.

For the past many years, organic farmers have been left out of the picture of government agricultural priorities as the thriving market for synthetic agri-chemicals and other inputs have allegedly been benefiting even the agencies concerned with farming like the Department of Agriculture.

Nena Morales, executive director of the group Moral, Economical, Technological, Sociocultural Aspirations of Men and Women (Metsa), said that the support of the city government must be translated into more concrete measures that will really help organic farmers in the city.

We need more than promises and praises. We are very happy to know that the city government is willing to back us up but what we need are more concrete support like access to organic farming material and seeds. There is also a problem with regards to market facilities for organic products, Morales said.

She also aired the need for government intervention on the lack of model farms and the uncertain and unsecured land tenure for farmers practicing organic farmers.

She also said that new organic farmers actually need financial assistance especially during the first few months of its practice, a crucial stage after their shift from chemically-dependent agriculture to organic farming.

We hope that the city governments support will include even the basic help like giving the farmers access to financial assistance. We do not want a dole out of supportwe just want the support to be there when it is most needed, Morales said.

Recently, the city council passed a resolution aimed to promote, support, and strengthen organic agriculture.

The said resolution invoked the state policy to promote the right to health of the people, instill health consciousness among them and provide them with a balanced and healthful ecology.

It also invoked the state policy to promote agriculture development, conserve environmental resources and promote social equity and product access to foreign and domestic markets of agriculture and fishery commodities.

The city council also commended the establishment of the first ever store selling biodynamic products, the Bios Dynamis. Run by the Don Bosco Foundation for Sustainable Development, Inc. (DBFSI), the store was opened early this year and has since been attracting consumers.

The City Agriculture of Davao has also allowed their technicians to learn biodynamics farming since last year. People behind biodynamics consider these things as welcome development.

Thats a welcome development for sustainable agriculture movement. It is time to work with the government to mainstream sustainable agricultureWe have to help each other and everyone must participate in the implementation of government programs pertaining to organic agriculture down to the monitoring and in the technical capacitation of people, said Romano Laurella, manager of Bios Dynamis Cooperative.

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