DAVAO CITY – The future of Davao City’s organic farming is being laid out at the City Agriculturist Office.
Organic farming practitioners and their advocates are meeting with the city’s Technical Committee on Organic Agriculture/ Organic Agriculture Management Council (TCOA-OAMC) this week to determine how to mainstream organic farming in the next five years. The most pressing questions include how to sustain the production of high quality organic products, and how to make organic farm produce more accessible to the public.
Go Organic Davao City network member Ling Castro, of the Interface Development Interventions, said that they hope to have the 5 year strategic plan in place before the year ends. “Having a strategic plan for organic makes it even more of a commitment for Davao City to establish itself as the organic center in Southern Mindanao where organic farming communities are producing a sufficient supply of affordable organic produce and where these communities are patronized and supported by the local government and the public.”, she said.
“This will also contribute to Davao’s vision of a green city where there is a confluence of sustainable initiatives and environment-friendly lifestyles.”, Castro added.
Davao City already has more than 100 farmers practicing organic agriculture, excluding the indigenous upland farmers who grow crops using traditional techniques without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. That number is expected to increase with implementation of the strategic plan as it will pave the way for the institutionalization of LGU support for organic farming.
This includes the development and popularization of indigenous based organic farming techniques as well as the integration of organic agriculture promotion in local school curricula.
Of late, Davao City’s agricultural lands have been drawing the interest of investors. Last month, CAO Officer in Charge Leo Avila revealed that Chinese investors are interested in establishing a vegetable farm in the areas of Waan, Mandug and Tigatto, and a dried mango processing plant.
Go DC members are hopeful that these investments will be in the area of organic farming so that Davao’s small vegetable farmers,which comprise the bulk of organic farming sector, will be able to benefit from this as they will be able to touch base with the export market.
Castro is optimistic about the results of the strategic planning. “Even if we’re just starting it now, the organic farming movement has already accomplished a lot in partnership with CAO. We’ve already begun to identify the initial organic farming zones as well as organic centers. These are small steps, to be sure, but this is why we are participating with the formulation of the OA strategic plan. We want to make sure that the policies are in place to ensure sustainability of Davao’s organic agriculture for years to come.”, she said. (#)