A plenary a bill for affordable organic certification of products was presented by Senator Cynthia Villar.
According to the report of Business World, it was stated that “at present, the law only allows the certification of organic farms of small farmers by third-party certifiers to facilitate the labeling and marketing of products to markets”.
The bill that was presented amends Republic Act No. 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 to introduce the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS). Respectively, the new bill is known as Senate Bill No. 2203.
Moreover, the objective of the bill is to address the costly certification of organic products. Also, based on the statement of Ms. Villar, farmers have to pay P42,000 to P150,000 per crop in order to be certified.
“Ironically, this certification requires big financial capital which is not affordable for small farmers. Aside from the fees for certification, it requires a significant financial outlay for establishing the required facilities, maintaining cleanliness and orderliness in the farm, and keeping an updated record of farm activities,” she said in her sponsorship speech.
Significantly, despite of the increasing demand of organic products. Our farmers are put in disadvantage because they can’t afford to have organic labels.
The proposal stated that PGS requires at least five members in a group practicing organic agriculture, which also come from local farms. Accordingly, the group must be registered with the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standards (BAFPS).
“The bill requires the PGS group to adhere to the Philippine National Standards for organic agriculture and to the standards provided by the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movement (IFOAM). Respectively, the processing fee of PGS will only cost Php 600 to Php 2,000.
Further, “the bill also gives incentive to organic agriculture producers who have been certified by PGS to be compliant with the standards for five years. They will also be eligible to be given a full subsidy for the cost of an international certification accreditation”.