LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Mayor Romeo K. Salda urged stakeholders of the province’s agriculture industry to bring to a higher level the practice of organic farming and their compliance to good agricultural practices (GAP) to allow their produce to meet the stringent market standards of agricultural crops.
Salda, who just arrived from a week-long official travel to Japan to observe the agricultural practices in the said country, said that what is important is that the produce of the farmers will be safe for consumption which is the primary objective of organic farming and the GAP considering the increasing competition in the country’s agriculture industry.
He narrated that they were given a chance to witness the agriculture value chain in Japan from production, marketing and packaging that is why there is a need for the utmost cooperation of the agriculture stakeholders to the appropriate system that will be established to ensure the marketability of their produce.
“We need to improve on our post-harvest systems for us to be able to realize the gains of our efforts to perk up our agriculture industry. We also need the cooperation of everyone for us to elevate the practice of organic farming to a higher level that will showcase a semblance of improvement,” Mayor Salda stressed.
The local chief executive that Benguet farmers were able to gain initial headway in the practice of organic farming and GAP since it was mandated by the concerned government agencies but there is a need to sustain it in the coming years to achieve the overall gaol of producing safe products similar to what they had experience in Japan wherein the newly harvested vegetables were eaten raw and fresh from the farm.
According to him, another issue that must be effectively and efficiently addressed by the stakeholders is the vegetable trimmings wherein the same should be left in the farms and properly disposed unlike in the current situation wherein farmers bring their trimmings to the trading post and the Benguet Agri Pioy Trading Center (BAPTC) that adds up to the volume of waste generated in the municipality.
While there is a policy that has been put in place that farmers must bring home their vegetable trimmings, he claimed that there are farmers who comply with the existing policy but they often dump the said trimmings along national roads that add up to the eye sore on the said passage way of people going in and out of the Cordillera.
Salda revealed that there were already initiatives by farmers in Atok and Buguias to package their produce in the municipalities and transport them same to the markets in Metro Manila and the lowlands wherein the trimmings were already left in the farms for proper disposal by the concerned vegetable farmers.
Salda stated that there will be a meeting among stakeholders, including concerned government agencies, to intensify the efforts to entice farmers to sustain the practice of organic farming and GAP in a bid to elevate the province’s agriculture industry to a higher level so as not to be left behind once the free trade will be implemented in the future wherein there will be an influx of agricultural crops from other countries that compete with locally produced ones.