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PIA Press Release

"Trento: Go Organic" grabs National Award

by Aurell Arais

Butuan City (24 November) -- It's unimaginable but it's really true. A small town became famous because of its effort to pursue organic agriculture and moreover it came from Caraga Region.

This was the case of Trento, Agusan del Sur under the leadership of a woman local chief executive Mayor Irenea Hitgano.

Just recently, Mayor Hitgano formally received the award after the local government unitof Trento emerged as the national awardee for the recently concluded Search for Outstanding Organic Farming Initiative: LGU Category.

Hitgano received the award at Davao Convention Center in Davao City during the 5th National Organic Agriculture Conference initiated by the Department of Agriculture through Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standards (BAFPS) and Go Organic Mindanao (GOM) and other stakeholders.

The award includes a plaque and cash prize worth P100,000.

The search for Secretary's Award for Outstanding Organic Farming aims to provide due recognition to stakeholders' initiative in organic farming and compliance to the requirements of organic standards; to document success stories and best practices employed in certified organic farms; to showcase improved technologies that meet the Philippine National Standard for Organic Agriculture Production and processing for competitiveness, increased productivity, sanitation and safety, thereby increasing contribution to economic growth, farmers income and consumer's welfare; and to promote the full implementation of Executive Order 481 on the Promotion and Development of Organic Agriculture in the Philippines.

The high price of petrochemical based fertilizers and expanding market for organic products eventually prompted President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to issue executive order 481 to promote and develop organic agriculture in the country.

In her speech after receiving the award, Hitgano exclaimed that she did not even think that her advocacy for organic farming will bring the town of Trento into limelight.

"I thank all the stakeholders, my co-officials and my constituents who trusted me and who one way or the toher contributed much to our success", she said.

She gives also an assurance that the advocacy for organic farming in Trento will continue whoever the next set of officers will be since the program has been adopted by the women's group that called Pinagbuklod na Lakas Kababaihan ng Trento (PLAKAT).

The organic way of farming in Trento started almost three years ago when a group of farmers approached her to do something so they will be freed from financial burden due to high cost in production input.

The call of farmers paved the way for Mayor Hitgano to equip herself the necessary knowledge in organic agriculture through attending various seminars and trainings here and abroad about the matter.

Her acquired knowledge greatly helps her to persuade co-officials and farmers as well as to adopt organic farming.

As of now, Trento has established various demo sites which includes rice and corn, vegetable gardening, organic fertilizer production area, rice duck farming and organic swine raising.

Aside from LGU category, another category of the search is the farmer category which was won by the Leonie Agri Corporation, a sister of Pascual Laboratories engaging in planting medicinal plants in Region 3.

BAFPS Director Gilberto Layese vowed to improve more the search process and expand the categories to widen the scope of recognizing individuals or groups adopting organic agriculture in the country. (BFAR-13/PIA-Caraga) [top]

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