ORGANIZATIONAL INNOVATIONS IN THE PROMOTION OF SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE – THE CASE OF NEGROS OCCIDENTAL
Andrew D. Gasmen , Rowena DT. Baconguis and Jose R. Medina
(PhD Student, Associate Professor, College of Public Affairs and Development, and Adjunct Professor University of the Philippines Los Baños, respectively)
In recent years, the agriculture sector is faced with rapidly changing context brought about by globalization, exponential growth of information and communications technology, and climate change, among others. Development organizations serving the sector thus need to be innovative in order meet the challenges of the changing times successfully (Rajalahti, 2009).
This paper presents the organizational innovations of government agencies in Negros Occidental in their effort to promote sustainable agriculture, specifically the institutionalization of organic agriculture in the entire province. It describes the context by which the organic agriculture movement has emerged in the province and the innovative responses of government institutions/agencies as organizations to ensure that this movement is well-supported. It also examines the strengths and weaknesses of such initiatives and what further effort maybe done.
The private sector started the organic agriculture movement for several reasons – foremost is people’s knowledge on serious setbacks of conventional agriculture on the environment and on human health. In response, the Government of Negros Occidental collaborated with Negros Oriental to make Negros Island an “Organic Bowl in Asia” through a memorandum of agreement. Innovative responses of the provincial government include development of ordinances to promote organic agriculture and created an institutional mechanism primarily to develop and provide oversight of the Provincial Organic Agriculture Plan. Specifically, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist set up an organic agriculture development program, sponsored organic villages in cities/municipalities, designated an office and a focal person as provincial coordinator, and tapped a field agriculturist in each city/municipality to reach the grassroots.
The city and municipal governments and the national government agencies serving the area have likewise designated their counterpart focal persons whose main function is to coordinate all organic agriculture concerns of their agencies.
Innovative organizational responses are far from perfect. More is needed to meet the provincial goal of 10% conversion to organic agriculture in commitment to the promotion of sustainable agriculture.
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