June 28, 2010 in Featured
By WL MARQUEZ & JSTABANGCURA WITH REPORTS
LA TRINIDAD, BENGUET — Republic Act 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 for the development and promotion of Philippine Organic Agriculture is now in place. Benguet State University (BSU) was challenged to promote organic agriculture in the region.
The new law is a state policy to promote, propagate and further develop the practice of organic farming that is expected to increase farm productivity; reduce environmental degradation and prevent the depletion of natural resources. It seeks to further protect the health of farmers, consumers and the general public; and help cut expenses on imported farm inputs.
RA 10068 was launched during the 3rd Organic Festival at Quezon City on May 28-30, 2010. As the principal author of RA 10068, Sen. Miguel Zubiri was guest of honor during the launching.
He emphasized his full support in the implementation of the law.
In a discussion with the BSU team, he said that although he fully supports the Cordillera organic agriculture efforts, BSU should have the political will in implementing the law with its advocacy on organic agriculture. Moreover, the cooperation of the constituents and heads of the academe is needed as there has already been a lot of effort poured in this project.
RA 10068 resulted from the consolidation of Senate Bill 3264 and House of Representative Bill 7066. Senator Miguel Juan Zubiri, Senate majority floor leader is the principal author of the bill together with Senators Loren Legarda, Edgardo Angara, Manny Villar, Rodolfo Biazon and Jinggoy Estrada. It was approved by Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo on April 6, 2010.
To lead the implementation of the law, the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB) was created as the policy making body that shall provide the direction and general guidelines of the law.
The NOAB will be headed by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and composed of line agencies, NGOs, private practitioners and the academe.
The new law strengthens and empowers the DA’s Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standards (BAFPS) by establishing functional divisions and incremental staffing to serve as the national technical and administrative secretariat of the NOAB, with the member-agencies providing additional staff support.
The law provides for tax incentives limited to “purely organic” agriculture entities subject to BAFPS accreditation and periodic monitoring, and only to micro, small and medium enterprises.
The incentives include duty-free importation of agricultural equipment, machinery and implements as provided under RA 9281, which amends RA 8435 or the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act. It also provides value-added tax exemption on transactions involving the sale or purchase of bio-organic products and preferential rates and special window for organic-input producers and users from the Land Bank of the Philippines.
The BSU organic agriculture team whose members include Dr. Jose Balaoing, a contributor to the technical aspects of RA 10068, Prof. Jocelyn C. Perez, Prof. Jovita M. Sim, Mr. Jamesly Andres and the Organic Demo project staff; Mr. Rogel Marzan of LaTop and BSU FITS Center attended the launching to showcase organically grown products of BSU.
Among the organic products showcased were salad crops, semi-temperate crops, mushrooms and indigenous wines. Almost all the products BSU displayed were sold after the event. # nordis.net