By WL MARQUEZ & JSTABANGCURA
with reports www.nordis.net
Posted by Bulatlat.com
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. In the north, Benguet State University (BSU) was challenged to promote organic agriculture.
Approved in April, 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, where as principal author, Sen. Miguel Zubiri was guest of honor. In a discussion with the BSU team, Zubiri 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.
To lead in its implementation, 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, but applies 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.
The launching showcased organic products such as salad crops, semi-temperate crops, mushrooms and indigenous wines. Almost all the products BSU displayed were sold after the event. (nordis.net /Posted by (Bulatlat.com))