DA Working to Open More Markets for Organic Produce

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is working to “open new markets” for the growing organic industry in the Philippines top bring down the prices, Undersecretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said yesterday said.

ORGANIC SUMMIT. Negros Occ. Gov. Alfredo Marañon, Jr. and Usec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat of DA led in the commitment signing supporting the Organic Agriculture advocacies of the Negros Island during the First Negros Island Organic Summit, yesterday.*

“We cannot control the prices because it is against the law,” Romulo-Puyat, who keynoted yesterday’s Negros Island Organic Agriculture Summit at the SMX Convention Center, said.

She said that “the more there is a market, the more the farmers will produce organic products.”

“We have asked our small farmers to participate in local fairs not only in Manila but also abroad,” she pointed out.

She added that they have orders to “continually look for markets of organic produce and create markets.”

“As a matter of fact, we have weekend markets in Manila where booths are provided for free,” she also said.

Romulo-Puyat said Negros Occidental has topped the country in terms of organic farming since 2005.

“Everybody is now looking into heirloom rice. But we have a problem with supply. Our farmers cannot supply heirloom rice. Secretary Emmanuel Pinol will be leaving for Ontario, Canada in November and he will be promoting heirloom products. If he is promoting organic products, this is a good sign and it’s the way to go,” she pointed out.

Meanwhile, she said that Pinol has instructed the Bureau of Animal Industry to “check what chemicals are put into commercial chicken.”

“Before he became secretary he has his own organic farm in Kidapawan City so he knows all organic farming.

Romulo-Puyat said that the DA has allotted P800 million for organic agriculture in its proposed budget for 2017.

She also clarified that she is not among those appointees that were required by President Rodrigo Duterte to resign.

“My appointment is being processed,” she said, “and I am not co-terminus.”* (Eugene Y. Adiong)