Jeffrey S. Garrido, SRS of the Accreditation Section, OA Division of BAFS points out to the organic farm-operators/practitioners in attendance that the internal pre-assessment may only form part of the process in securing organic certification, but it is vital to avoid denial/disapproval of organic certification applications. photo supplied
Cagayan de Oro City -- To harness the competencies of organic practitioners eyeing to have their farms be certified as organic, the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office 10 (DA-RFO 10) through the Regulatory Division has recently staged a Capability Building on the Philippine National Standards (PNS) for Organic Agriculture (OA), here in the city.
Attended by around 45 organic practitioners in Northern Mindanao, the training aimed to aide farmer-operators interested towards applying for organic certification by providing them with technical guidance on how to comply the relevant provisions under the PNS for OA.
PNS for OA was crafted for the purpose of “promoting organic agriculture and enhancing market competitiveness by providing a uniform approach to the requirements on conversion, crop production, animal production, special products, processing, labeling, and consumer information.”
In his message, Jeffrey S. Garrido, Science Research Specialist of the Accreditation Section, OA Division of the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS) underscored the need of doing an internal pre-assessment by farmer-operators of their respective farms prior subjecting themselves to a pre-assessment by an assigned regional field office of DA and an inspection by an organic certifying body (OCB).
He explained that the point of the pre-assessment is to verify the readiness and compliance of an applicant for certification and to provide guidance, especially in addressing non-compliances.
“If you want to have that security nga talagang alam mo sa sarili mo na once you are inspected by an OCB nga kayo ay makakapasa, you need to have that mechanism within your farm,” Garrido emphasized.
“Organic certification ay hindi product-based, it’s more of the system, meaning that if you want to go organic, we’re not just looking at the product by itself, but the whole system, from the conversion period up to packaging, transportation, labeling and storage,” further noting the weight of undergoing an internal pre-assessment.
With the training anchored on empowering interested organic certification applicants of capably verifying and evaluating their level of compliance on the relevant PNS for OA, its course module covered the following: PNS on OA-Crops and Livestock, Pre-Assessment Guidelines: Protocols and Methodologies, Department Circular No. 4 Series 2015 Certification Subsidy Guidelines and Quality Assurance for OA.
Centered discussions were also complemented by workshops on the preparation of pre-assessment inspection plan and assessment reports, document review of potential applicants for certification subsidy, and a mock inspection, in one of the organic farms in Claveria, Misamis Oriental. # (JLOlson, DA-RFO 10)
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