1st Amia Organic Village in PH launched in NegOcc

Erwin P. Nicavera

THE Department of Agriculture (DA), through its Systems-Wide Climate Change Office (SWCCO), unveiled Friday, June 16, the country’s first Amia Organic Village in Pontevedra, Negros Occidental.

It is part of the 10 Adaptation and Mitigating Initiatives in Agriculture (Amia) Villages to be launched this year, and the pilot in Negros Island Region (NIR).

SWCCO Director Alicia Ilaga, who led the launching ceremony at Barangay General Malvar, told SunStar Bacolod that these are model villages for building climate-resilient farming communities.

Ilaga said the establishment of these villages is under the agency’s Amia project, wherein Negros Occidental was identified earlier as one of the priority-provinces.

It is aimed at providing sustainable livelihood to farmers and fisherfolk mainly through making the community ready and resilient to possible adverse effects of climate change.

Ilaga said the project includes components like creation of Localized Climate Information Service Center that will conduct local weather observation, climate-risks and impact management, farm-weather advisory creation, and community dissemination of weather and climate-suggested management.

“Through the village, we will be able to identify the specific climate challenge in the area and that necessary and appropriate services and measures will be implemented,” Ilaga said.

In terms of adaptation measures, it could be utilization of technologies, diversification of income sources, change or shift in crop and cropping calendar, among others.

Based on the Climate Risk Vulnerability Assessment, Pontevedra is vulnerable to drought. It was identified as recipient due to having supportive local government, cooperative farmer-groups, and no peace and order problem, among others.

The concentration of Amia Village in the town is organic, given the province’s strong development programs on organic agriculture.

DA-NIR Regional Director Joyce Wendam earlier said the village will serve as an area for demonstration of various climate-resilient production technologies including the use of flood and drought-resilient seeds, integrated farming system, and crop diversification.

The village initially covers 25-hectare farms in Barangay General Malvar, and another 25 hectares in neighboring Barangay San Isidro comprising a total of 50 farmers of different crops as initial beneficiaries.

A field school will also be established within the village to hold regular classes to the farmers, Wendam said, adding that the DA initially allocated P4.9 million for the implementation of the project.

Ilaga said they target to replicate the project in all barangays of Pontevedra this year, and eventually in the whole region.
“We need to establish first a model lighthouse before replicating it to other areas,” Ilaga said, adding that their target is within the Duterte administration, to be able to institutionalize localized climate information services as a basic service.

Amia’s main goal is to equip local famers to continue earning amid the climate change, she said.

For his part, Mayor Jose Benito Alonso, who also attended the launching rites, said the project is a big boost to the agriculture sector of the town.

“We hope that having climate-resilient communities would help our farmer-families improve their livelihood, contributing to reduction of poverty in our locality,” Alonso said.

Alonso added that the initiative hopes to make the residents more aware and ready for possible risks and hazards brought by climate change.