Baguio urban gardeners told to comply with organic agriculture requirements

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City officials urged urban gardeners in the city’s 128 barangays to comply with the requirements to be certified as organic farmers and producers by the Cordillera office of the Department of Agriculture (DA-CAR).

Under Resolution No. 385 signed by Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong, local legislators reminded farmers or agricultural practitioners in the city to practice organic agriculture as the main agricultural practice in the city to help produce quality products that could be sold in the different markets.

Earlier, the council passed Resolution No. 173, series of 2021, that encouraged Baguio City urban gardeners and farmers to practice environmental, economic and social sustainability for on-farm processes and to apply good agricultural practice certification from the DA-CAR.

Section 2 of Republic Act (RA) 10068 or An Act Providing for the Development and promotion of Organic Agriculture in the Philippines and for other Purposes, otherwise known a the ‘Organic Agriculture Act of 2010’, declared the policy of the State to promote, propagate, develop further and implement the practice of organic agriculture in the country that will cumulatively condition and enrich the fertility of the soil, increase farm productivity, reduce pollution and destruction of the environment, prevent the depletion of natural resources, further protect the health of farmers, consumers and the general public and save on imported farm inputs.

The body stipulated that the local government is duty-bound to protect life and advance the right of its citizens to food sufficiency, sovereignty and safety, sustainable livelihood and social equity in accordance with the rhythm and harmony of nature.

In the past, the city had been empowering residents to practice urban gardening to be able to produce quality agricultural crops amidst the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Further, the establishment of survival gardens has been one of the activities of residents that kept city residents busy during the various levels of community quarantine that had been implemented for over one and a half year to contain the rapid spread of the deadly virus.

Section 16 of RA 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of the Philippines, as amended, provides that every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom as well as powers necessary, appropriate or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare.

The DA has embarked on a stringent process to certify farmers as good agricultural practitioners, aside from certifying them as among those practicing organic agriculture, to help in convincing agriculture industry stakeholders to abandon chemical-based farming and adhere to the traditional way of producing crops for the health and safety of the consumers.

Since the implementation of the Luzonwide lockdown last March 2020, urban gardens had flourished in the various barangays of the city that paved the way for residents to produce some of their food requirements, aside from making the established urban gardens as an added tourist attraction despite the fact that tourism-related activities are not yet allowed under the prevailing circumstances.

The practice of urban gardening and organic farming also serves as among the best practices in solid waste management as it involves the recycling of useful materials for the production of agricultural crops that could be either sold in the market or used by residents to sustain their food. By Dexter A. See

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