Organic farming advocates bullish about future as young leaders take up cause
KAUSWAGAN, Lanao del Norte, Philippines — Advocates of organic farming are bullish about the sector’s future as young leaders take up the cause.
“I see a great future in the development of organic agriculture in the Philippines,” said Kauswagan Mayor Rommel Arnado who hosted some 1,200 advocates and practitioners of organic agriculture who gathered here for the 6th Organic Asia Congress from June 5 to 9.
“I am really excited that the newly elected young mayors and other (local) lawmakers are becoming part of our network,” added Arnado.
He is also president of the country’s 150-member League of Organic Agriculture Municipalities, Cities and Provinces (LOAMCP) and has just recently taken over as president of the Asian Local Governments for Organic Agriculture (ALGOA).
These young leaders, he said, bring “youth, enthusiasm, and energy” that inspires those ahead of them.
He noted that the Philippines lags behind other Asian countries in promoting the practice of organic agriculture with barely 1 percent of total farms in the country tended using organic farming methods.
“Where else in the world would we have a group of elected officers who are coming forward to take on the leadership for a better, more sustainable world,” Arnado said.
He said that ALGOA would soon establish the Young Elected Officers Network and have an organic academy run with LOAMCP.
These young leaders of the organic agriculture movement, according to Arnado, will learn from local governments with experience in advocating organic farming to their respective constituencies.
In other parts of Asia, there is a similar encouraging trend, said Matthew John, president of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM)-Asia, noting that ALGOA had grown from 23 to 280 members today with 10 new members joining it during the recent summits here.
“This growth has been possible because we believe in the goals and objectives of ALGOA. And we held together, trusting each other as we have a common goal to facilitate the full adoption of organic agriculture practices in Asia and guarantee a better world for our children and the generations to come,” John added.
“Under ALGOA, the group of elected officers will be better positioned to mainstream organic agriculture and I heartily welcome these young and dynamic leaders to our group,” Arnado said.