Initial initiatives on organic agriculture were undertaken by BAR in coordination with the Regional Technical Directors of DA-Regional Field Units (RFUs) and the Regional Integrated Agricultural Research Center (RIARC) in 2009. This was the year when the study on “Gap Analysis on the R&D of Organic Agriculture: Focus on Organic Fertilizers” was launched to: a) review past studies/literature on organic fertilizers in the Philippines; b) compile literature on organic fertilizers, past and present as well as research development gaps into a compendium for reference purposes and c) conduct gap analysis on organic fertilizer R&D conducted by the state college and universities (SUCs), DA-Regional Field Units (RFUs) and different research institutions in the country. Data gathered showed that most common research conducted on organic fertilizers were focused on evaluating the effects of potential organic fertilizers on growth and yield of plants, assessing the efficacy of potential bio-pesticides for pest and disease control, use of various organic materials for plant propagation, breeding and variety screening, storage and processing. Only a number of studies were related to organic livestock and poultry production including community-based assessment of the impact and adoption of organic agricultural practices.
This was followed by a conference-workshop on “Gap Analysis on the R&D of Organic Agriculture: Focus on Organic Fertilizer” in October 2010 to identify the issues and concerns relevant to organic agriculture.
It was on April 6, 2010 when the Republic Act No. 10068 or more commonly known as the Philippine Organic Agriculture Act was approved which declares the policy of the state to promote, propagate, develop further and implement the practice of organic agriculture in the Philippines that will cumulatively condition and enrich the fertility of the soil, increase farm productivity, reduce pollution and destruction of the environment, prevent the depletion of natural resources, further protect the health of farmers, consumers and the general public, and save program for the promotion of community-based organic agriculture systems which include, among others, farmer produced purely organic fertilizers such as compost, pesticides and other farm inputs, together with a nationwide educational and promotional campaign for their use and processing, as well as the adoption of organic agricultural system as a viable alternative shall be undertaken. The state recognizes and supports the central role of farmers, indigenous people and other stakeholders at the grassroots in this program.
Under Section 5 of RA10068 is the National Organic Agriculture Program where it is hereby established a comprehensive organic agricultural program through the promotion and commercialization of organic farming practices, cultivation and adoption of production and processing methods which have already been developed, or to be developed, continuing research and upgrading thereof, the capacity building of farmers and the education of consumers thereon, the extension of assistance to local government units (LGUs), peoples’ organization (Pos),nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders including individuals and groups who are willing to do other pertinent activities, and documentation and evaluation of the program.
Research and Development for continuing research and upgrading of relevant technologies is one of the identified key components for the institutionalization of a comprehensive organic agriculture program.
The Bureau of Agricultural Research, in line with its mandate and commitment to consolidate, strengthen and develop the agriculture and fishery R&D system for the purpose of improving its effectiveness and efficiency, under Section 20 of RA10068 has been assigned to lead and coordinate among research and educational institutions, local government units, non-government organizations, recognized associations of interest groups to develop, enhance and support, and consolidate activities for the formulation and implementation of a unified organizations, recognized associations of interest groups to develop, enhance and support, and consolidate activities for the formulation and implementation of a unified and integrated organic agriculture research development and extension (RD&E) plans and programs from the national down to the field level.
Being the lead agency in Organic Agriculture RD&E, BAR conducted a stakeholders’ consultative workshop on planning and project proposal preparation on Organic Agriculture RD&E in September 2011 to determine gaps and opportunities in strategizing the Organic Agriculture RDE Agenda and Action Plan for 2012-2016 which will serve as basis in soliciting and prioritizing R&D proposals that will promote, propagate, further develop and implement the practice of organic agriculture in the country.
BAR continue its effort to lead and support the Organic Agriculture Research and Development Component of the National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP) following the main programs and activities to be undertaken in achieving the vision and objectives of the organic industry such as: a) organization and establishment of research and development centers, b) dissemination and adoption of new technologies by farmers, c) user friendly database and information system on OA in place and accessible to all OA stakeholders d) information, education and public awareness program on research completed and continuing activities e)completion and updating of national survey of organic production f)compilation of indigenous knowledge and continuous dissemination thereafter, g)strengthen and support private sector participation in research activities, h)tapping of existing farms of organic practitioners as learning and research centers for participatory activities.