Organic Agricultural Production
Nueva Ecija, Philippines
The diocese of San Jose, in Nueva Ecija northern Philippines, is in a region which is known as the country’s rice granary. Rice is the staple food in the Philippines. 80 per cent of the population are farmers.
Upon the request of Bishop Leo Drona, SDB, in 1995 the Salesians opened the Don Bosco Training Center at San Jose. It offers 4 courses that are registered under TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority). The newest course that was offered is Organic Agricultural Production (OAP) that has been running for the last 3 years in answer to the call of the government to augment the industry of food production.
This course is also in line with the priorities of the local Church. In the mid-1980s Bishop Leo Drona SDB founded the Gratia Plena Social Action Center to help the poor farming population covered by the Diocese of San Jose after a destructive typhoon. It considers organic agriculture as a strategic response to environmental issues and their social effects by promoting sustainable farming methods.
Through the Gratia Plena Social Services Center, the local diocese supports and guides farmers to acquire skills and know-how to boost the local economy. The Full of Grace Organic Agriculture Producers is an agency of the Diocese of San Jose which works in partnership with small-scale farmers, cooperatives, Basic Ecclesial Communities, and development practitioners who all believe in the natural and organic practices of producing food for life, health and the environment.
The possibilities of Don Bosco Training Center working in closer collaboration with Gratia Plena Social Services Center are being examined. On the part of the Salesians of FIN Province, Organic Agricultural Production is a small step that will go a long way in protecting the environment through sustainable organic farming.