CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is mulling on giving farmers who switch to organic farming extra perks to encourage them to contribute to the country’s growing number of advocates of non-traditional method of agriculture.
“We are looking at giving tax incentives to organic farmers,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in an interview at the sidelines of the agri-related events, the 3rd Climate Change and Agriculture Summit (CCAS) and the 14th National Organic Agriculture Congress (NOAC) held in this city on Tuesday (Oct. 24).
Among the incentives being eyed for farmers adapting organic agricultural practices, Piñol said, is the provision of equipent and tools necessary to increase yield.
“Our farmers need more information, more technology, more support because it’s not easy to shift from traditional to organic method of farming,” Piñol said.
He said organic agriculture is slowly gaining ground in the country as consumers are now more aware of the food they eat and preference for safe and healthy produce is now becoming the norm.
As of December 2016, DA said the land area devoted to organic agriculture is now at 349,041 hectares of the total 9.671 million hectares of the country’s agricultural land.
The agency also reported that about 525,863 metric tons of organically grown products were produced by 116,558 famers and were distributed to 106 local and foreign destinations as of December 2016.
Piñol said farmers will have more flexibility to use government funds according to their own needs.
“We will give them the money, and they can buy the kind of equipment they need,” he said, adding this approach is more practical. (PNA/Jigger J. Jerusalem)