CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, August 11 – Bracing up with challenges to further develop the organic agriculture (OA) sector, the agriculture department in Northern Mindanao (DA-10) is currently holding a consultative meeting on the Implementing Guidelines for the Establishment of OA Hubs.

Dubbed as Organic Konek, it is seen as a one-stop shop that acts as an integrator for existing trading posts and organic farms; source of organic inputs; access of OA practitioners to production, processing and marketing facilities, equipment and machinery; and a learning site and facility on its operations, maintenance and services, to overall satisfy demand.

“Now on its third draft, the activity is aimed to thoroughly capture the proposed criteria, rules, and procedures for the establishment, operation and monitoring of OA hubs at the regional level, which will be compiled, then consolidated by the National OA Board, before presentation and approval of the agriculture secretary,” Samuel C. Natindim, Jr., OA focal person of DA-10 explained.

Initially, details on the roles and responsibilities of DA together with partner government agencies in collaboration with interested proponents which may include associations, cooperatives or organizations were discussed.

Representatives from concerned offices eyed to be involved in such endeavor participated.

Among them are the operating units of DA-Regional Field Office 10, its attached agencies such as the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), the provincial local government of Misamis Oriental, Department of Tourism (DOT), and the Northern Mindanao OA Association.

“Amid the finalization of the implementing guidelines, DA is eyeing to have its first regional OA hub through its research station in Northern Mindanao Agricultural Crops and Livestock Research Complex, as currently the center for farm inputs, planting materials and farming technologies,” Natindim added.

A risk management workshop will also ensue to focus on implementation issues which will potentially face by OA hubs, including financial, organizational, operational and environmental aspects, to determine its impact and correspondingly craft with strategies and find resources on how to assist its growth and success.

source: Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office X