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Camp Benjamin, Alfonso, Cavite - The   16th National Organic Agriculture Congress (NOAC) inspired by ‘`Pahiyas’´ Festival tradition and culture was held from 12 to 14 November 2019 with the theme “OA4K: Organikong Agrikultura sa Kumikitang Kabuhayan para sa Kalusugan at Kapaligiran”.

Department of Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar as the keynote speaker highlighted and declared his support for Organic Agriculture (OA). “OA must further reduce cost of production and increase productivity through science in order to make organic products more affordable in the market. Under the “New Thinking” for agriculture, we must advocate for inclusive agribusiness support through a value chain system. More sources of income must benefit small farmers” Dar said.

One of the challenges being faced by Philippine Agriculture is the poor condition of our soils. The Secretary stressed the need for soil rejuvenation. Agricultural land in the Philippines totaling to 11-12 million hectares should be analyzed. The use of organic material in our. soils would greatly alleviate the problem. Additionally, the Secretary said that Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) is important to complement organic agriculture to further ensure food security in the Philippines.

The Secretary announced steps taken to streamline and simplify the process of acquiring certificates of product registration for organic produce. Dar also promised that revised organic fertilizer standards will be issued before the end of the year.

And for the first time, the national conference included an international speaker from  Korea, JADAM Organic Farming  headed by the Cho Family: Master Hankyu, Youngsang and Rabi.

During the second day, more than 1,800 attendees had a wide-array of educational offerings to choose from plenary sessions: Production and Technology Support; Extension and Capability Building; Research and Development; and Market Development.

One of the highlights of the three-day event is the National Organic Agriculture Board’s approval of 60 resolutions.

The National Organic Agriculture Achievers Night was held to award outstanding groups and individuals that have contributed to organic agriculture. The winners are the following:

Provincial Category: PLGU Batanes - 3 million
Municipal Category: City of Bislig - 1 million
Provincial Focal Person Category: Catherine Buenaventura - 50K
Municipal Focal Person Category:  Jimmy Sombilla - 40K
Agriculture Extension Worker Category: Jennifer Dulnuan - 30K
Small Farming Individual Category: Elmer Salazar - 200K   
Farmers Group Category: TAPFPAT - 500K
Organic Farming Family Category: Marsan Family - 300K
Young Farmer Category: Teresa Sacley - 100K
Organic Agriculture Category for Research: Benguet State University - 100K
Poster Making: Princess Rose Infornon - 25k
Essay Writing: Hazel Brondo - 25K
Kabataang OA Quiz Bee: Tricia Mae Corpuz - 25K 

On the culminating day, the participants visited various agri-tourism farms such as Sanctuario Nature Farm, Indang Cavite; Luntiang Republika Eco Farm, Alfonso,Cavite; Brookside Hills Leisure Farm, Kaymias, Gen.Emilio Aguinaldo; Taal Maranan’s Farmville, Batangas; and Lukong Valley Farm, Dolores,Quezon.