by Lou Ellen L. Antonio
KAUSWAGAN, Lanao del Norte (PIA)–As the municipality here will host the 6th Organic Asia Congress (OAC) in June this year, members of the Expanded Committee convened to discuss preparation plans.
The OAC is one of the prominent international events for organic agriculture that brings together local governments and the organic sector from various Asian nations to talk about the main trends in the movement and methods for advancement.
The theme for this year’s OAC is “World Peace through Organic Agriculture: Food Security is Vital to Peace Building,” featuring the role of organic agriculture in attaining sustainable peace and development.
During the meeting, Mayor Rommel Arnado, who is also the current national president of the League of Organic Agriculture Municipalities, Cities, and Provinces of the Philippines, said that hosting the OAC gives the Philippines an opportunity to showcase not just organic agriculture initiatives but also Filipino culture and tourism.
“It’s an opportunity to flaunt or advertise organic agriculture and, at the same time, tourism. It’s promoting the Philippines, particularly Mindanao, to the world. We are trying to erase the image that Mindanao is a war zone, especially in Kauswagan,” he said.
Arnado also shared that they plan to allow the foreign delegates to experience Filipino culture by setting up a “boodle fight” dinner at the boardwalk. Moreover, Filipino cultural presentations will also be showcased during the programs by inviting Mindanao State University (MSU)-Iligan Institute of Technology’s Kalimulan group, MSU-Main Campus’ Sining Kambayoka, and Kauswagan’s Rondalla.
IFOAM Organics Asia said that people from about 30 different countries are interested in the event and have asked about it.
Apart from OAC, Kauswagan will also host the Organic Youth Forum, the 9th Asian Local Government for Organic Agriculture Summit, the 4th Global Alliance of Organic Districts, and Women in Organic Agriculture in Asia.
The meeting was attended by the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Tourism, the Philippine Information Agency, the Mindanao Development Authority, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and IFOAM Organics Asia. More agencies will be invited to join the committee for the next meetings. The stakeholders then visited the venue, which sits on 8-hectare land owned by the local government in Barangay Tacub. (LELA/PIA-10/Lanao del Norte)