DA eyes perks to farmers who switch to organic farming
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is planning to give perks to entice farmers to switch to organic farming and contribute to the country’s growing number of advocates of non-traditional method of agriculture.
“We are looking at giving tax incentives to organic farmers,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in an interview at the sidelines of the agri-related events, the 3rd Climate Change and Agriculture Summit (CCAS) and the 14th National Organic Agriculture Congress (NOAC) held in this city on Tuesday (Oct. 24).
Among the incentives being eyed for farmers adapting organic agricultural practices, Piñol said, was the provision of equipment and tools necessary to increase yield.
“Our farmers need more information, more technology, more support because it’s not easy to shift from traditional to organic method of farming,” Piñol said.
He said organic agriculture was slowly gaining ground in the country as consumers were now more aware of the food they eat and preference for safe and healthy produce is now becoming the norm.
As of December 2016, DA said the land area devoted to organic agriculture has expanded to 349,041 hectares of the total 9.671 million hectares of the country’s agricultural land.
The agency also reported that about 525,863 metric tons of organically grown products were produced by 116,558 farmers and were distributed to 106 local and foreign destinations as of December 2016.
Piñol said farmers would have more flexibility to use government funds according to their own needs.
“We will give them the money, and they can buy the kind of equipment they need,” he said, adding this approach is more practical. (PNA/Jigger J. Jerusalem)