Sen. Marcos pushes organic farming of high-value crops

Bersyon sa Filipino.

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. today urged the government to aggressively pursue programs to promote organic farming, particularly of high-value crops.

Marcos aired the proposal as part of his call for safety nets meant to cushion the adverse impact on local farmers of the influx of duty-free commodities expected after the Asean Economic Community came into force last December 31.

The Senator said that the government should not only provide assistance to small and medium-scale farmers who wish to produce traditional crops but also ramp up the drive to promote the shift to organic and high-value crops.

“Shifting to organic, high-value crops could provide our small farmers the edge they need to compete with their counterparts in our neighboring countries as demand for organic food continue to increase worldwide,” Marcos said.

He noted that according to the market research company Organic Monitor, global market for organic products in 2013 reached $72 billion, with the United States as the leading market, followed by Germany and France.

While the US was once a net exporter of organic food, increasing demands have outstripped the capacity of local suppliers so much so that reports said it now spends around $1 billion annually in imported organic food.

Marcos noted that the High-Value Crops Development Act of 1995 already provides incentives and cheap credit facilities for the production of high-value crops in addition to available foreign funding for the purpose.

“We can go a step further by promoting organic farming to increase the value and competitiveness of our agricultural products in the world market. As a bonus, going organic will help protect our environment,” Marcos said.

To be able to do this, Marcos said the government must provide funding assistance to farmers during the initial phase of the transition to organic farming when production output normally declines, tap cooperatives and organizations to share best practices in organic farm management.

In addition to vital infrastructures such as irrigation, roads and electricity, Marcos said the government must also invest in modern post-harvest facilities to ensure a high quality of organic produce upon delivery to the market.

Moreover, the Senator said the government must conduct an aggressive marketing campaign for our organic and high-value crops in the international market.

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