Growers securing organic certification, says NGO

LOCAL growers are securing organic certification to assure the market that their produce is free of chemicals, a non-government organization Interface Development Interventions Inc. (IDIS) said.
IDIS released a statement yesterday saying that organic certification body Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) Davao has already certified nine farmers, including those four who have sold their produce at the city-led Friday Organic Farmers Market at Rizal Park.

“Hopefully, this will encourage more small farmers to shift to organic farming. This is important because more than providing food security, widespread organic farming is also beneficial in maintaining the integrity of our watersheds,” said Chinkie Peliño, an advocacy coordinator of IDIS.

The organic certification, she said, would ensure that the producer is complying with the Philippine National Standards on Organic Agriculture rules and that those that would get accredited would have their product bearing the PGS logo.

Nena Morales, chair of PGS Davao, said in a statement that the PGS is “a second party organic certification, which is designed for the domestic market. It levels the playing field so that small farmers can participate in the organic market without spending huge amounts for certification fees.”

The move to certify the growers, Morales said, temporarily cut down the number of sellers in Friday Organic Farmers Market, pending the certification of other local growers. As of the previous year, there were 20 local growers that sell their produce in the weekly market.

“While this may mean that there will be fewer sellers at the moment, this will only be temporary since PGS Davao will be assisting those who have yet to process their organic certification. If they are able to pass the inspections, they will be allowed to return to the market,” she said.

The group’s certification is a less expensive option for local growers. The group was officially launched in August 2014, which is composed of City Agriculturist Office, non-government agencies like IDIS, Metsa Foundation and Mt. Tipolog Bantay Kalikasan, and some 15 farmers in the city that practice organic agriculture.

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