DA to promote organic farming, agri-tourism

THE Department of Agriculture is encouraging more farmers, entrepreneurs, hobbyists and overseas Filipino workers to establish organic farms that will serve as agri-tourism sites.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala made the pitch as he commended a model organic farmer from Laguna, Ronald Costales, and presented him a certificate as an accredited technology extension provider, during the 26th anniversary celebration of the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), January 28, 2013.

The DA chief said Costales owns a ‘nature farm’ in Majayjay, Laguna, frequently visited by Filipino and foreign tourists, and boasts of being the first agri-tourism site accredited by the Department of Tourism.

Costales was chosen as the country’s best organic farmer in 2012, under the Gawad Saka, sponsored by the DA honoring the country’s outstanding achievers in agriculture and fisheries. He is also considered a ‘magsasaka-siyentista’ by both the DA and DOST.

His farm features an integrated natural farming system producing organic vegetables, fruits, fish, poultry and livestock. Costales said he has also adopted Japanese and Korean natural farming systems.

Secretary Alcala said he wants to see more Costales in the years to come, as the Aquino government promotes both agriculture and tourism.

In fact, President Aquino cited agriculture and tourism as among the priority investments areas in the country, during a speech at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland.

During the ATI anniversary, Secretary Alcala also inaugurated a Learning and Discovery Center (LeAD) for agriculture and fisheries, which serves as a showcase for value chain and farming systems, and innovations in organic farming.

He urged farmer-leaders and agriculture industry stakeholders to adopt organic agriculture technologies to reduce production costs and make agricultural products more competitive in the international market.

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