Typhoon survivors, ancient tribe join 15th Negros organic festival

About 80 organic farmers and producer groups are participating in the 15th Negros Island Organic Farmers’ Festival at the Capitol grounds in Bacolod City that will run until Saturday, November 26.

Provincial Agriculturist Edmundo Raul Causing said there are now 2,000 hectares of organic farms lands in Negros Occidental.

Bernadeth San Juan, National Organic Agriculture Program director, said in 2023 the government budget for organic farming will be doubled.

Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, whose speech was read by Board Member Andrew Montelibano, said after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, “we reaffirm our goal to enhance the market potential of our organic products. Organic agriculture need not be limited to mere production, it has to be enhanced by entrepreneurship and it has to be a viable source of income”.

“It is time we show the world that Negros is more than just sugar, that Negros is the place where you can succeed if you try, where a healthy economy can advance by what we make and innovate in a sustainable manner,” he said.

Among the products on sale at the festival are those produced by 25 farmers and their families who are members of the PeacePond organic farm in Binalbagan that was devastated by Typhoon Odette in December 2021.

It took them nine months to recover with the help of various organizations, Checcs Orbida, PeacePond vice president, said.

Checcs Orbida, left, and PeacePond Farmers Association members at their booth.*

On Wednesday the PeacePond farmers at the festival were selling coco sugar, virgin coconut oil products, smoked fish, achara, mushroom sisig, and pots and purses made of recycled plastic.

Also participating in the festival were members of the Ati tribe of Caradio-an, Himamaylan.

Melanie Montaño of the Ati tribe said among their products for sale were various ancient cures, including liniment for aching bones.

The Ati Tribe selling ancient cures.*

They also had bracelets and other items to ward off evil spirits, she said.

There were also organic beauty products on sale at some booths, and the smell of organic coffee being brewed, and rabbits being roasted filled the air.*

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