Mr. Jefferson Costina Laruan, co-founder of the La Trinidad Organic Practitioners Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LaTOP MPC), owner of Lily of the Valley Organic Farm, and a Regional Gawad Saka awardee in 2011 was validated by the National Technical Search Committee (NTSC) as the region’s nominee to the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB) for small farmer representative last September 14, 2017.

NTSC validators consisted of Mr. James Villanueva of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Geeza Painaga of the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS), Charmaye A. Sabandana of the National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP), Gio Renzo Caballero of BAFS, Edrian Paras of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), and Czar Arjay Claro of DA-Central Office.

The team evaluated the documents submitted by the region and province for Mr. Laruan’s bid as a NOAB representative.

Pursuant to Republic Act No. 10068 under section 6, the NOAB was created to serve as the policy-making body mandated to provide direction and general guidelines for the implementation of the nation’s organic agriculture program.

Criteria for the selection of the nominee will be based on the number of years as organic agriculture practitioner; number of organic agriculture related trainings/seminars attended, number of citations/awards received; and the affiliations and linkages of the farmer.

If chosen, Mr. Laruan is already prepared to take the challenge. “I was able to capacitate my farm with the help of the Department of Agriculture-CAR, ATI and other Local Government Units (LGU) to level up in terms of training so now, we are a farm school, at alam ko na magtutuloy ang mga activities ng farm at ng organization kahit wala ako” said Mr. Laruan.

Those who will be selected for the board will be presented and take their oath during the National Organic Agriculture Congress in Cagayan de Oro City on October 24, 2017.//Leny Mendoza