BrightWorld

Dreams, Optimism, Wisdom

PHILIPPINES’ ORGANIC ISLAND SURGING AHEAD August 14, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Good morning from Manila!

If there is any thought that the islanders of Negros would want themselves to be known the world over, it is their being dubbed as the “Philippines’ organic island.” And rightly so, for they have, under the initiative of the governors of the island, been moving heaven and earth to get the entire island towards that goal since 2005 yet.

The provinces of Negros Occidental (West) and Negros Oriental (West) concurred over the idea around three (3) years ago today, to transform the entire island into an organic paradise. The island used to be almost exclusively planted to sugar, a pattern that had since been modified towards multi-crop and biodiversity enterprises. For sure, the organic initiative will lead the entire island towards biodiversity, even as it has become common policy in the two provinces to see to it that both farms and backyards (including middle class village homes) should cultivate plants.

I was privileged to be invited as a major guess speaker by the province of Negros and partner NGOs in 2005 on the occasion of the launching of the organic island project. I just concluded a book on fair trade & food security then for the KAISAMPALAD, the national NGO council for fair trade & food security, when I got the invitation to share notes about food security to the people of Negros. I found the enthusiasm of the people for the project very high, it was indubitably a very popular movement since even the radical groups there were enthusiastically involved.

I couldn’t forget that event as the organizers timed it with the Mascara Festival of Bacolod City/Negros Occidental. The pageant night, when the Miss Bacolod was chosen, was truly an enchanting night of performances by artists who were wearing the classic mask designs for that occasion, coupled with pyrotechnics and band performances. The occasion catapulted the organic movement to euphoric heights!

The news item below indicates that the organic initiative has been surging ahead, as local counterpart funding for its growth phase has been moving up too. May this organic experience light up the other islands of the blessed Republic so as to make the archipelago green again.

[ 13 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to yahoo.com database news.]

MANILA, Philippines – Negros Oriental province has earmarked an initial P3 million for popularization of the use of organic fertilizer in the province, an online news site reported.

 

Visayan Daily Star reported that NegOrganic NOW (Nutrients Of Worms) program is gaining headway through verme composting.

Provincial agriculturist Gregorio Paltinca also said the program is promoting the production of natural fermented solution.

He said trainings and seminars are being conducted for farmer beneficiaries before they are given 500 grams of worms.

But he stressed this is not a dole-out, as the recipient-farmer has to return what is given to him after six months, to be distributed to other farmers.

Government hopes to provide all farmers in the province with the needed worms and technology to produce organic fertilizer.

Paltinca said organic farming has been proven to increase the farmers’ yields, produce chemical-free vegetables and other farm products, as well as good for the environment.

Meanwhile, Gov. Emilio Macias II ordered Paltinca to come up with a time frame for the production of organic fertilizer. – GMANews.TV 

 

MALARIA CROSS-BORDER RESEARCH IN LATIN AMERICA August 9, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Cross-border malaria research is a new thing in health services and epidemiology. The conduct of this requires first of all an established people-to-people relationship in order to prosper, this relationship being the base for an expert-to-expert and state-to-state relationships.

Incidentally, cross-border relations are increasing in the South, a pattern that is observed likewise among Latin American states. Cross-border research in malaria is a representative instance of the multiplying cross-border relations, the good news being that it is even rewarded among certain countries, as reported in the news below.

Enjoy your read.

[26 July 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to SciDev database news.]

Cross-border malaria research rewarded in Africa

Bibi-Aisha Wadvalla, Esther Tola and Christina Scott

12 June 2008 | EN

The money will go into further research, including final-stage trials of a malaria vaccine for children

Flickr/aheavens

Four African institutions carrying out malaria research have won an international cooperation award from the Prince of Asturias charitable foundation in Spain for their joint efforts.

The award, announced last month (28 May) and worth €50,000 (around US$77,000), went to Ghana’s Kintampo Health Research Centre, Mali’s Malaria Research and Training Centre, Mozambique’s Manhica Centre of Health Research and the Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre in Tanzania. They are scheduled to receive their awards in October this year.

The centres carry out biomedical research, vaccine trials, demography research and local training of personnel.

Ogobara Doumbo, director of the Mali centre, told SciDev.Net the award would help expand successful strategies such as insect-repellent mosquito nets and occasional (intermittent) preventative drug treatment for children and pregnant women.

About 80 researchers have been working on clinical trials of malaria vaccines at four sites in Mali since 2003, including molecular biologist Abdoulaye Djimdé, who developed simple techniques to monitor drug resistant malaria parasites from a drop of blood on filter paper.

Doumbo says they are now working on candidate vaccines targeting the early phase in the parasite’s life cycle in the human bloodstream.

The money will be ploughed straight back into further research, says John Aponte, head of the statistics unit at the Barcelona Hospital Clinic and a member of the team at the Manhiça Centre of Health Research.

Aponte said final-stage (phase three) trials of the RTS,S malaria vaccine for children under five years should begin in late 2008 or early 2009 at 11 centres in Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. 

Commentators say that the awards are a sign of Africa being at the forefront of solving African health problems.

“Mozambique and Africa are starting to lead the path toward solving their own health problems, and to deliver useful solutions to the rest of the world,” Graça Machel, president of nongovernmental organisation the Community Development Foundation in Maputo, who has worked with the Manhiça Centre for 12 years, said in a press statement.

”The work of the recipients reflects their respective commitment to cooperation across national and institutional boundaries — the type of cooperation that will be needed to effectively combat malaria at the global level,” said Christian Loucq, director of the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, in a press statement.

 

FIND LIGHT & PEACE IN BRO. ERLE ARGONZA’S BLOGS May 8, 2008

FIND LIGHT & PEACE IN BRO. ERLE ARGONZA’S BLOGS

Gracious Day to all friends, partners in development, fellows in the Path!

 

You’re all invited to relish moments of Light-seeking reflections, call to relevant actions and self-development thoughts with me, through my blogs:

 

Development, Economics, Better World: http://unladtau.wordpress.com

 

Seekers’ Lessons, Freethought, Yoga, Self-Development:

 http://erleargonza.blogspot.com, http://raefdargon.mysticblogs.com

 

Poetry for Inspirational Living: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com

 

Happy Reading!

 

Bro. Erle Frayne Argonza / Guru Ra Efdargon

 

 
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