Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival is an annual gathering of organic farms and farm workers in the last Saturday of November in Negros. A four-day event, it is a celebration that promotes farming based on organic, agricultural practices.
History of Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival
The history of Negros is tied with agriculture. It has been a major sugar producer and exporter since the Spanish colonial period. During the Marcos administration, the sugar boom fell due to the entry of sugar alternatives in the global market, a decrease in the price of the commodity, and reportedly the result of “economic mismanagement and corruption.” The local economy cratered and there was widespread famine and malnutrition. See also the history of MassKara Festival.
The push towards organic farming had its roots in 1980s when Sustainable Agricultural Program was formed by private institutions and non-government organizations. It was prompted by the goal to feed every citizen in ways that are sustainable and safe. Among those spearheaded in those early days were Alter Trade Corporation and Broad Initiatives for Negros Development and the Buro-buro Vermi Farm in Talisay City.
The two provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental established mutual relation with the aim of putting the island on the map of organic farming and earning the credit of being the Organic Food Bowl of Asia. It was formalized through a memorandum of agreement between George Arnaiz (Negros Oriental Governor) and Joseph Marñon (Negros Occidental Governor) on August 4, 2005.
In the same year, Negros Island Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development was founded.
In 2006, the first ever Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival was organized. A year later, Organic na Negros! Organic Producers and Retailers Association was formed.
It was put on hold in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was later re-staged in 2022.
Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival Activities
Events in Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival are held in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, particularly in the provincial capital ground as well as in South Capital Road.
One of the many highlights of the festival is the Organic Fair and Exhibit. Opened in all days of the festival calendar, its booths and display welcome visitors all day long. It boasts of farm produce, products, and various merchandise.
In addition, there are caravans, competitions, awarding ceremony, talent’s night, cultural shows, and cook fest. A series of seminars, workshops, and conventions are also slated that covers wide-ranging topics regarding sustainable farming and fishing, indigenous people, organic agriculture, water conservation, entrepreneurship, women and youth empowerment, food and beverages, and health and wellness.
How to reach Bacolod City
Bacolod City is accessible through its airport. One can also arrange inter-island transport from neighboring islands and land trips to and from Negros Oriental.
- Nanette Guadaquilver. 5th Negros Island Organic Farmers’ Festival is on at Provincial Capitol grounds in Bacolod. Negros Daily Bulletin. November 24, 2022. Retrieved December 1, 2022
- Gladys Reyes. Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival. Experience Negros. November 18, 2014. Retrieved December 1, 2022
- Sánchez: One island, one green economy. Sunstar. June 18, 2014. Retrieved December 1, 2022
- Gilbert Bayoran. NegOcc organic farm areas expanding. The Visayan Daily Star. November 24, 2022. Retrieved December 1, 2022
- Gabby Novenario. How Negros paved the way for organic agriculture in the Philippines. FNB Report. May 11, 2018. Retrieved December 1, 2022
- Paul John Cana. Sugar Wars: Looking Back at the Negros Famine of the 1980s. Esquire Magazine PH. April 15, 2021. Retrieved December 1, 2022
- Negros farmers’ festival kicks off. Politiko. November 29, 2018. Retrieved December 1, 2022
- Organic farmers fest kicks off today. The News Today. December 2, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2022
- ‘Negros Occidental has long history of organic agriculture’. Philippines Today. October 21, 2013. Retrieved December 1, 2022
- Nathalie M. Tomada. Negros: United and organic. The Philippine Star. January 16, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2022