Designation of market day for organic veggies backed

BAGUIO CITY September 26 – Officials of the Cordillera office of the Department of Agriculture (DA-CAR) expressed the agency's support for the proposed ordinance designating a market day for organic produce in the city.

Appearing before the regular session of the local legislative body last Monday, Florina Pedro of the DA-CAR's agri-business and marketing division claimed the proposed market day for organic products in the city will be a big boost in advancing the patronage of organic products by the residents in the city's 128 barangays.

Under the proposed ordinance authored by Councilor Michael L. Lawana and co-authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr., the market day for organic products in the city will be on Saturdays and Sundays and it will be done at the Igorot Park.

The DA-CAR official revealed that for the agency, the market day for organic products in its compound in Guisad is held every Monday and there are dozens of organic farmers who frequent the place and sell their produce to interested buyers not only from their office but also residents coming from neighboring barangays, thus, organic products have already gained the support from the public.

Esther Andiso of the Cordillera Integrated Agriculture Research Center (CIARC) explained there are already farmers in some barangays of the city who were already certified by the accrediting group as organic agriculture practitioners while there are some farmers who are still on the process of completing their required certification although they can already market their produce to the public.

She claimed that part of the process in acquiring the certification of being an organic practitioner include the conduct of soil test and the laboratory examination of the water being used in the farms and such certification will only be released once the farmers are able to comply with the stringent standards of being an organic practitioner in the city.

According to her, the products of organic practitioners have their own distinct identity because their packaging comes with a sticker issued by the accrediting organization declaring that the said produce is organically raised among other details relative thereto.

She asserted there has been a consistent increase in the demand for organically produced agricultural crops among the city residents because people nowadays have become health conscious, thus, the proposal to have a designated market day for organic produce in a strategic part of the city will definitely ease the burden of people in trying to locate the available organically produced products in the city.

The proponents of the local legislative measure agreed to refine the contents of the ordinance to consider the issues raised by some local legislators that the Igorot Park, which is part of Burnham Park, is reportedly beyond the commerce of man, thus, the selling of products in the area is prohibited and thus the need to transfer the venue for the market day of organic produce to a definite place within the central business district area.

Organic agriculture practitioners in the different barangays of the city also supported the enactment of the proposed measure to allow the availability of organically produced crops in the market to cater to the demand of the public for health products.

By Dexter A. See

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