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PIA Press Release

Gov't urged to commit support vs climate change through sustainable agriculture

Koronadal City (25 June) -- Organic farming advocates on Wednesday called on the Philippine delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference scheduled to be held in Copenhagen in December to commit support in the global campaign against global warming and climate change by promoting sustainable agriculture in the Philippines through the shift to organic farming.

Go Organic! Philippines joined citizens' and advocacy organizations including environmental groups in calling for a stronger commitment to address global warming and climate change in time for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009.

"The government needs to strengthen its commitment to render social and environmental justice by reversing the destruction caused by excessive use of chemicals to produce food," Isagani Serrano, acting president of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and a convenor of Go Organic! Philippines said.

The year 2009 is a crucial year in the international effort to address climate change. In 2007, parties agreed to shape an ambitious and effective international response to climate change, to be agreed at Copenhagen.

The first round of negotiations this year took place in Bonn, 29 March to 8 April. The second meeting took place in Bonn, 1 to 12 June. Three further sessions will be held prior to Copenhagen: 10 to 14 August in Bonn (informal meeting); 28 September to 9 October in Bangkok and 2 to 6 November in Barcelona.

"Agriculture is not just about growing food. It's also about social and environmental justice," Serrano stressed.

He added that industrial agriculture or factory farming accounts for much of the depletion of natural resources and pollution of the environment.

By strengthening its commitment to sustainable agriculture, particularly through organic farming, the government is strongly committing to the global campaign against global warming and climate change.

According to Serrano, organic farming regenerates resources, cleans up poisoned water, soil, and air. "In contrast to highly- centralized industrial agriculture, sustainable agriculture is more decentralized and empowering to small farmers and local communities," he added.

Roland Cabigas, Managing Director of La Liga Policy Institute (LLPI) said by allocating funds for projects that promote organic farming, which reduces carbon emissions, the Philippines is actually mitigating global warming and climate change.

Farmers, he said, will be the first to benefit from government programs that promote organic farming as it ensures not only increase in income, but in terms of better health and safer environment.

Organic farming makes use of organic fertilizers which farmers can produce from organic materials that can be found in their farms. This will help them veer away or cut their dependency from often harmful chemical fertilizers that they use in their farm in conventional farming.

"We need assurance that the government is truly committed to addressing global warming and climate change. On top of that, we need to know that they are committed to promoting the shift to organic farming, because that is one sure way of ensuring sustainable agriculture," Cabigas said.

A consortium of non government organizations that promote organic farming in the Philippines, Go Organic! Philippines is behind the successful implementation of the Organic FIELDS Support Program Phase 1 (OFSP1), a partnership project with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM).

LLPI, which represents the environmental cluster in the Alternative Budget Initiative (ABI) that calls for increased social spending for the poor, is aggressively promoting organic farming through Go Organic! Philippines. (Go Organic! Philippines/PIA 12) [top]

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