The Seminar on Organic Agriculture Standards and Certification

One of the identified opportunities for national cooperation related to the production, marketing and standard, and regulation setting is on the organic agriculture industry. The Department of Agriculture (DA) has played a crucial role in institutionalizing the organic sector which is in line with the provisions of the Executive Order No. 481 on the “Promotion and Development of Organic Agriculture in the Philippines”.

 It is in this context that the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Products Standards (BAFPS), in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture- Regional Field Unit-XI (DA-RFU-XI), and the DA-Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center-XI (ATI-RTC-XI) recently conducted a SEMINAR ON ORGANIC AGRICULTURE STANDARDS AND CERTIFICATION (OASC) last April 10-11, 2008 at Felis Resort Complex, Matina Aplaya, Davao City.

organic agricultureThe seminar specifically aimed to: 1. Provide an overview of the organic agriculture in the country; 2. Present and enlighten interested farmers, producers, and consumers on the Philippine National Standards for Organic Agriculture and ; 3. Expound and clarify the process of certification for organic produce.

A total of 50 participants attended the seminar coming from Davao City and the provinces of Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley Province, Davao Oriental and Daval del Sur. They were composed of representatives from the Provincial Local Government Units (PLGUs) of Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and Davao del Sur, the LGUs of Davao City, Panabo City, Tagum City and Digos City. Also, from the National Government Agencies (NGAs) such as the DA-Southern Mindanao Integrated Agriculture Research Center (DA-SMIARC), DA-Plant Quarantine, DA-Livestock Division, Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), DA-Bureau of Soils and Water Management (DA-BSWM) and the stakeholders from the private sector such as from the Adam’s Farm, Garden of Eve, Puentespina, Chua’s Orchid Farm, Lao Integrated Farm, D Farmer Market, and Hemmel’s Blumen.

The resource persons were tapped from the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Products Standard (BAFPS) of Manila and from the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP). Ms. Lara G. Vivas, technical staff of BAFPS and Ms. Leilani Katimbang-Limpin, coordinator of OCCP.

They discussed comprehensively the following Modules, to wit; Module 1 Overview of Organic Agriculture ( Principle of organic Agriculture, Status of Organic Agriculture in the Philippines, and Enabling Regulatory Mechanisms for Organic Agriculture) Module 2 Philippine National Standards for Organic Agriculture, Conversion Requirement Module 3-4 Philippine National Standards for OrganicAgriculture (Crop Production and Livestock Production) Module 5-6 Philippine National Standards for Organic Agriculture (Processing, Labelling Requirements and Special Products) Module 7 Technology Trends in Organic Farming Module 8 Overview of Certification Implications of EO 481 Module 9 OCCP Certification Process Module 10 Overview of Internal Control Systems .

Learning insights were imparted to the participants through lecture-discussion, and experiential sharing from the participants as additional inputs. Also, an open forum was an added activity of the seminar where participants’ issues and concerns were raised and were given substantive responses from the resource persons and other knowledgeable participants.

A workshop was likewise part of the activity for the participants to come up with an output on their respective upcoming organic agriculture production activity and was presented for critiquing by the panelist (Ms. Vivas, Ms. Limpin and Mr. Nestor Burgos). They were divided into 5 groups and were divided according to the provinces/cities they represented. Each group came up with an output and presented it.

The opening program was graced with the presence of Mr. Romulo S. Palcon, regional technical director of DA-RFU-XI. He gave a warm welcome address and also the message in behalf of Dir. Roger C. Chio who was not around for an equally important activity that needs his presence.

In his message, he stressed the importance of the seminar on Organic Agriculture Standards and Certification in tune with the global demand for organic agriculture products. He likewise challenged everyone to do their share in promoting and applying the organic agriculture that follow the Philippine National Standards for Organic Agriculture. He discouraged everyone from entertaining negativism and pessimism on the issues of rice shortage, and other related issues. He rather encouraged them to pursue what is good and beneficial for the agriculture sector that would pave the way for noteworthy economic development and progress.

To officially close the two days OASC seminar activity, a Closing Program was conducted. RTD Romulo S. Palcon was on hand to deliver an inspiring message that encouraged and challenged the participants to involve themselves in the production of organic agriculture in their respective area that would help boost the national organic agriculture production.

Mr. Richard C. Rubis, center director of DA-ATI-XI gave the closing remarks. In his closing remarks, he congratulated and thanked the participants for actively participating in the seminar on Organic Agriculture Standards and Certification since it is just timely to heed the global call to practice and produce organic agriculture quality products that are free from chemical contamination at minimal cost. He likewise expressed his profound thanks to the resource persons from BAFPS and OCCP and the training management staff from the DA- Regulatory Division and from DA ATI-XI who contributed much to the success of the seminar.