August 12, 2014
Davao City – Farmers have twice the reason to celebrate this Kadayawan Festival. In further recognition and support for the growing number of small-scale organic producers, the City Agriculture Office, along with local farmers’ groups and non-government organizations is launching the Davao City PGS, a coalition supporting the practice and implementation of participatory guarantee system (PGS). The PGS is an alternative product certification system more beneficial and appropriate to local and smallholder organic production.
“We have adapted the PGS as the certification system of Davao City organic products because we believe this will better serve our local and small-scale farmers,” said Mr. Rocelio Tabay, City Agriculture Officer of Davao City. “The City, with the help of the civil society and farmers organizations has put in place our own PGS which helps strengthen our organic agriculture program.”
“Having a PGS as a certification system will also ultimately help our ordinary consumers to enjoy safe and healthy organic products,” said Anita Morales, chairperson of the Davao City PGS and Executive Director of the development organization METSA Foundation. “PGS is an inexpensive certification system so farmers and small-scale producers would not have to add too much cost to their organic products.”
A national conference on PGS will be held on August 12 at the Jubillee Building, Ateneo de Davao University organized by MASIPAG, PGS Pilipinas and Davao City PGS. The conference, titled “Participatory Guarantee Systems: Building a Future for Organic Farmers and Consumers in the Philippines,” aims to further expand the practice and implementation of PGS in the country. Meanwhile, the Davao City PGS will be officially launched on August 13, during the Organic Food and Product Fair at the SM Ecoland Grounds. Organic products from Davao City farmers and other neighboring municipalities will be marketed, which include organic colored rice, fresh fruits and vegetables, and processed organic herbal teas and medicines. These products are all certified organic through PGS.
Product certification is an assurance among the consumers that the organic product has passed the standards on organic agriculture. Certified products usually have a seal or logo from the certifying body.
The Republic Act 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act only recognizes the third-party certification system in which the certifying bodies require a hefty fee that smallholder farmers and producers can barely afford. However, a two-year leeway has been granted for those that are using first- and second-party certification such as the PGS. MASIPAG, a network of farmer, scientists and NGOs, as well as other farmer organizations has been lobbying for the recognition of the PGS, not only in Davao City but in other municipalities and provinces in the country.
Geonathan Barro 0918-559-9814
Eloisa Delos Reyes 0915-258-5589