THE ORMOC CITY Organic Trading Post, which is the first in Region 8, is now open following a soft opening ceremony on Thursday, July 27, 2023.

The PHP 10-million Organic Trading Post is located in the Bagsakan in Brgy. Alegria, and, accordingly, will serve as a venue for farmers to showcase and sell their organic products.

According to acting mayor and Sangguniang Panlungsod Member Perok Rodriguez, Leyte 4th District Representative Richard Gomez and Ormoc City Mayor Lucy Torres Gomez strived and made sure that the said OTP would be made possible because food security is important to them.

On the other hand, City Agriculturist Maria Elena Mendoza of the City Agriculture Department (CAD) expressed gratitude to former mayor and now congressman Gomez because it was him who proposed during his administration the said project, which was fortunately pushed through by the current administration led by Mayor Lucy, who, meanwhile, aims for Ormoc to become an agriculture hub in the region and perhaps in the country.

Mendoza also mentioned that it was in 2014 when former city councilor and now Market Administrator Tommy Serafica passed the Ormoc Organic Ordinance, which was an eye-opener for Ormocanons to eat healthy foods and crops that are safe from chemicals and pesticides.

During the said event, DA-8 Regional Technical Director Larry Sultan also shared that the purpose of selling organic products is the promotion of safe and healthy food and its great impact on climate change.

Meanwhile, Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center (ATI-RTC8) Director Hazel Grace Taganas also revealed that during their midyear assessment with the DA, the region is the first or number one in the number of certified accredited Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) farms and groups in the country.

Further, at the said event, the Participatory Organic Certificate (POC) was awarded to the Ormocanons who own farms that passed the assessment of the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS) for organic farming.

Among those POC-certified farms that are also core members of the Ormoc Organic Agriculture Development, Inc. (OOADI), is the Beautiful Hands Nature Farm located in Brgy. San Jose, owned by Rechelle B. Rama; AQ Integrated Farm, located in Brgy. Mas-in, owned by Wenceslao M. Quiros; Nueva Valley Farm, located in Brgy. Nueva Sociedad, owned by Conceso C. Cabiling; Tempesto Rice Farm, located in Brgy. Guintigui-an, Ormoc City; and Trophy Farms, which is located in Brgy. Montebello, Kananga, and owned by retired Col. Troy D. Bumagat.

The newly opened OTP is initially catering to products from the OOADI.

The said soft opening was also graced by Market Administrator Tommy Serafica and Brenda Pepito from DA-8, who also delivered their respective messages.

The activity was successfully facilitated by CAD, led by City Agriculturist Mendoza. Accordingly, the OTP is in accordance with the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 (Republic Act No. 10068), an Act providing for the development and promotion of organic agriculture in the Philippines. By Gwen Maurillo (EV Mail July 24-30, 2023 issue)