Cagayan de Oro City – TO gain entry in a more competitive market and to ensure safety and quality of farm produce against potential hazards, a three-day Capacity Enhancement on Philippine National Standards (PNS): Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for Corn and Certification Protocols was held in the city on June 14-15, 2017.
GAP is a set of consolidated safety and quality standards formulated by DA for the production, harvesting and on-farm post harvest handling and storage of corn that primarily focuses in reducing the risk of pesticide and aflatoxin contamination.
This was all underscored by Dr. Edralina P. Serrano, Technical Working Group for GAP Corn, adding that in view of the integration of Asian countries and the increasing demand of products for health and wellness not only in the Philippines, but worldwide, there is a need to comply to the standards set forth by DA on GAP, as this will be a ticket for easily gaining access to markets and likewise ensure quality and safety of their products against potential carriers of hazards, which would overall tailor-fit in addressing the needs of consumers.
During the second day of the GAP Corn training, the corn farmers, agricultural technicians and technical staff of DA-RFO 10 have undergone a mock inspection in the different corn farm areas, owned by some of the members belonging to the Mantibugao Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Farmer’s Cooperative, in Mantibugao, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. In doing so, they have used the checklist developed based on adopted relevant GAP corn standards. Ensuing the activity is also the preparation of an assessment report as well as reporting and critiquing of the outputs by the capabuild-participants.
More so, she emphasized that apart from having an edge in terms of facilitating access to market thru the certification, Dr. Serrano said that it is also a potent tool in extending social responsibility as the adoption to GAP allows to reap benefits such having high regard for workers’ health, safety and welfare and environmental sustainability.
Included in the course module for the two-day training is a discussion on Food Safety, Concepts and Principles of GAP, PNS Code of GAP for Corn, Importance and Procedures in Soil Sampling, Pre-Assessment Guidelines: Protocols and Methodologies and GAP Certification Protocols.
Complementary to the lectures, an on-field mock assessment and inspection was done in the different corn farm areas, cultivated and owned by some of the members of a small farmer’s organization, in Mantibugao, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon’s adherence to GAP standards.
To date, there are already 14 GAP certified farms producing pineapples, papaya, herbs, vegetables and rice throughout region 10 and yet, the agency is fervent that after the conducted training, more corn farmers along with the assistance from corn coordinators in various local government units would be persuaded to have their farms be GAP certified based on what they have learned from the capabuild. # (JLOlson, DA-RFO 10)
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