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The 15th National Organic Agriculture Congress (NOAC) with the theme, “Organic Agriculture: Advancing the Local Food Culture Movement in the Philippines” was successfully conducted at Waterfront Hotel & Casino, Cebu City, Cebu on November 13 – 15, 2018.

Speaking before almost 2,000 participants, Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary for Operations Arnel T. Cayanan who graced the occasion in behalf of Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said, “organic farming can play not only in hastening our people’s progress towards a healthier and more bountiful farming system, but also in promoting and sustaining our nations’ biodiversity and realizing our common vision of inclusive growth for our farmers and fisherfolk.”

DA CALABARZON delegates were led by Assistant Regional Director for Research and Regulations Elmer T. Ferry, Regional Organic Agriculture Program Coordinator Lucia A. Campomanes, and Research Division Chief and concurrent Southern Tagalog Integrated Agricultural Research Center (STIARC) Manager Digna P. Narvacan, together with some organic farmers-producers and practitioners, provincial and municipal agriculturists and/or their staff, representatives of agricultural program coordinating officers (APCOs), Regional Organic Agriculture Program staff, Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) staff, and other agricultural stakeholders from the Region.

Topics including sustainable production and consumption; environmental protection and conservation; National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB)’s highlights of accomplishments and updates of the 14th NOAC plenary resolution; and National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP)’s highlights of accomplishments were tackled.

Other activities were also included in the congress such as: a) National Organic Agriculture Achievers’ Awards or the presentation of awards to the outstanding organic farmers and practitioners who have showed exemplary performance in the field of organic agriculture. Municipality of Sto. Tomas in Batangas, Laguna Provincial Agriculturist Marlon P. Tobias, Sto. Tomas Municipal Focal Person Ofelia O. Malabanan, and Sto. Tomas Agricultural Extension Worker Melanie B. Cortez were given recognitions as shortlisted nominees; b) 4th Philippine Natural and Organic Products Exposition (PNOPEX) showcasing different organic products and goods made by agri-preneurs from all over the country. BeeGood Agri Ventures of Tiaong, Quezon, an Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) CALABARZON Learning Site and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Farm School for Organic Agriculture, which sells raw honey, honey vinegar, bees wax, beex balm, lip balm, and citronella spray; and Pasciolco International, Inc. which produces vinegars and jams, and manufactures coconut syrups, coconut aminos, and balsamico that are organic-certified, Halal and Kosher-certified, and exporting them to the vast markets of Europe, America, and Asia were among them; c) break-out sessions for practitioners, researchers, marketers, and policy-makers wherein they had options to choose on the topics that are appropriate to the purposes and needs in their locality, and to impact cost-effective, productive, and sustainable organic farming practices; and d) success stories of farmer-producers in the field of organic farming and the benefits that come with it.

The NOAC is an annual event conducted by the DA-NOAP to convene various stakeholders including DA’s bureaus and attached agencies, organic farmer-producers and practitioners, as well as supporters of organic agriculture from all over the country to present and discuss different plans and approaches to further develop the implementation of the Organic Agriculture Program in the country, for the practitioners to share their knowledge and experiences, to exchange market linkages, and to showcase the best practices of organic agriculture in the Philippines.

DA CALABARZON is the next host region for the 16th NOAC.