Agrilink 2011 "Integration: Key to Sustainable Agriculture"

The country's most-attended agricultural trade expo will be staged on October 6 to 8, 2011 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. This time the event will highlight farm integration as key to sustainable agriculture.

This year's expo will be the eighteenth edition of the event that started as PigLink in Davao City. It has expanded through the years to become Agrilink that has since been held in Metro Manila yearly. In the process, it eventually incorporated fisheries (Aqualink) and food (Foodlink).

The principal organizer of the annual expo is the Foundation for Resource Linkage and Development (FRLD) headed by Antonio V. Roces, its president.

According to Roces, "most farming systems today focus on large-scale, monoculture production systems which can work well in generating revenue in a short term basis, but there is apparent need for making these more eco-friendly and sustainable. There are also added concerns for technical, economic and structural developments to agricultural systems that would be more suitable to small farmers."

Roces adds: "One way of improving the current agricultural approach is for farmers and stakeholders to work together in enhanced, integrated production systems which integrate soil quality enhancement, reduction of contamination and establish stronger farming communities with better revenues. The challenge for the government, the private sector and our farmers is to coordinate and complement with each other to adopt proven technologies and management systems in the development of these integrated farming systems."

He said that the event's theme, "Integration: Key to Sustainable Agriculture," seeks to promote this holistic integration concept and approach towards a more productive, efficient and self-sustaining Philippine agribusiness."

Roces adds that this year's Agrilink "seeks to help in the process of effectively linking our farmers to the market and maximize their benefits from the value chain. Furthermore, the event aims to help both private and public sectors be better aware of each other's strategic decisions and programs. The event likewise seeks to continue with its track record of developing key linkages with industry partners and stakeholders.

Roces cited the success among practitioners of organic agriculture, of which integration exemplifies. "Their system combines production sub-systems to obtain a full output that satisfies the needs of its target market. Organic agriculture effectively uses farm byproducts, increases long-term productivity, provides healthier food, diversifies farm community through enhanced ecological balance and soil conservation, and utilizes labor more efficiently.

He also stressed that "sustainable niche markets, like the organic food sector, would only be so if the production systems that support them are efficient, productive and competitive. The recently enacted Organic Agriculture Act is expected to exemplify this and help sustain our agricultural growth."

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AANI farm tour this Saturday – This Saturday, May 28, the AANI Farm Tour will visit the Teresa Orchard and Nursery in Teresa, Rizal, and the Harbest Agribusiness Training Center in Jala-jala, Rizal.

Participants will be able to observe the different exotic fruit trees being propagated at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery, including different varieties of pummelo, mango, imported makopa, longkong lanzones, durian, latexless jackfruit, variegated orange, abiu, Indian black pepper and many others.

Those interested to join the farm tour should make their reservations at the AANI office at the Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City, or at the St. Vincent Seminary on Tandang Sora, Quezon City.

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