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Law mandates BAR to promote organic farming

November 12, 2010

A new law mandates the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) to be the lead agency in promoting organic agriculture.

Republic Act No. 10068, also known as the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, makes it clear that BAR will coordinate the work on research, development and extension (RD&E) with several departments involved in raising farm productivity.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala authored the law as congressman of Quezon province at the House of Representatives.

In promoting organic farming, BAR will collaborate with the Departments of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Science and Technology (DoST), and Education (DepEd), including state universities and colleges (SUCs).

RA 10068 specifically directed BAR to be the clearing house for unified and integrated organic agriculture RD&E services whether in the state sector or with the private sector.

BAR is tasked to create and organize an Organic Agriculture RD&E Network comprised of research and educational institutions, local government units (LGUs), non-governmental agencies, and recognized associations of interest groups like as organic fertilizer manufacturers and distributors, agricultural engineers, agriculturists, soil technologists and farmers.

To enhance RD&E on organic agriculture, national, regional and provincial organic RD&E centers will be organized, established and integrated as a major component of the existing centers of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), SUCs, and local government units (LGUs).

BAR’s tasks under RA 10068 is also attuned with its mandate to consolidate, strengthen, and develop the agriculture and fishery R&D system for the purpose of improving its effectiveness and efficiency.

The new law provides for the promotion of organic agriculture through a comprehensive program to be executed by the National Organic Agricultural Board (NOAB), a policymaking body that provides direction and general guidelines for the implementation of the National Organic Agricultural Program (NOAP).

NOAB is attached to the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture since the DA chief is its chairman.

The secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will act as its vice chairman.

Specifically, the law seeks to promote, propagate, and further develop organic farming to increase output, reduce environmental degradation and prevent the depletion of natural resources, protect the health of farmers, consumers and the general public and help cut expenses on imported farm inputs.

The law also provides training on organic-farming methods to farmers as well as consumers and extends assistance to LGUs, peoples’ organizations (POs), non-government organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders.

The term organic as defined under Section 3a refers to the particular farming and processing systems, described in the standards and not in the classical chemical sense.

The word organic is also synonymous in other languages to “biological” or “ecological” and thus directly supports biodiversity conservation.

Organic agriculture includes all agricultural systems that promote the ecologically sound, socially acceptable, economically viable and technically feasible production of food and fiber.

It dramatically reduces external inputs as it excludes the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and pharmaceuticals.

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