Negrense youths urged to go into farming; Organic exhibitors earn P1.69-M

Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. called on young Negrenses to go into agriculture, or farming, because of its “huge potential.”


ORGANIC. Gov. Alfredo G. Marañon, Jr. treats Dr. Zhou Zejiang, president of Asia Federation of Organic Movement, Jennifer Chang, executive director of IFOAM Asia, Dr. Janet Chen of Taiwan’s International Agri Center, Huamei Liao and some Capitol department heads to a sumptuous organic lunch at Fresh Start Organic and Natural Restaurant, SM City Bacolod, yesterday. The activity is in line with the 12th Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival celebration at the Provincial Capitol Grounds that will culminate today, November 25, 2017. Also in photo are NISARD president Boyet Uychiat, Ramon Uy, Sr and family. *(Capitol photo)

“If they love agriculture, if they love farming, it will become a habit,” Marañon said during the recently concluded Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival in Bacolod, during which exhibitors earned P1.69 million in four days.

He said young professionals now prefer blue-collar jobs.

“They want to wear ties, to work in an air-conditioned office, and after their work, they go to bars to drink,” the governor said.

He added that there are only “very few” young people who engage in agriculture.

“There is so much potential in agriculture, especially in the Philippine situation because the Philippines is an agricultural country,” he pointed out.

The country, he said, has lots of endemic plants, animals, and resources and it’s “very easy to produce” in the Philippines.

During the same event, Marañon also urged the need for Negrense farmers to practice organic farming so that the two-province island can earn the title “Organic Food Bowl of Asia.”

He also said that there is a huge demand for organically made agricultural products globally.

However, the supply of these products cannot cope with the surging global demand, he said.

In the Philippines, the number of organic farmers has increased 20 percent, data from the Department of Agriculture.

FESTIVAL EARNERS.

About 120 exhibitors of the 12th Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival earned P1.649 million in sales during the four-day festival that ended late Saturday, organizers said.

The festival, hosted by the provincial government of Negros Occidental, was held at the Provincial Capitol Grounds in this city.

Various food products and farm items that include fresh organic vegetables, grains, fruits, juices, honey, native delicacies, plants, farm machinery, and dried fish and dairy products were sold by participating exhibitors during the event.

Themed “Go Organic for Health and Prosperity,” this year’s festival was participated in by organic agriculture advocates, entrepreneurs, organic food producers and processors, farmers, cooperatives, indigenous people, and non-government organizations in Negros Island.

Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. earlier stressed the need to increase organic agriculture production in Negros Island to meet the growing global demand for organic products.

“The demand is growing, but the supply can’t catch up. We have to double time in our organic movement,” he said.

Negros Island has at least 20 percent annual growth in terms of area devoted to organic agriculture, but amid the increase in supply the demand still grows, he said.

At present, Negros Occidental has about 16,000 hectares of agricultural lands devoted to organic farming, with almost 17,000 organic adaptors, the majority of whom are small farmers.

The annual festival was a collaborative effort of the provincial government of Negros Occidental with the Organic Na Negros! Organic Producers and Retailers Association, Negros Island Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development, Department of Agriculture, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Science and Technology, Bureau of Plant Industry, among others.* (NDB, w/ report from Nanette Guadalquiver, PNA)