Urban Farmers urged to secure GAP certification
BAGUIO CITY – Councilor Philian Weygan-Allan is encouraging the city’s gardeners and farmers to apply for a Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) certification issued by the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Under Resolution 173-2021 approved by the council on April 5, Weygan-Allan mentioned that the GAP certification program is promoted and facilitated by the Regulatory Division of the DA to “ensure food safety and assure quality of agricultural products while keeping high regard for environmental protection and that of workers health, safety and welfare.”
Article II, Section 4 of Republic Act No. 10611 (otherwise known as the Food Safety Act of 2003) states that GAP refers to “practices that address environmental, economic, and social sustainability for on-farm processes, and which result in safe and quality food and non-food agricultural products.”
In their website, the DA explained that GAP is “also aimed at facilitating access of Philippine Agricultural Crops to neighboring ASEAN and other foreign markets.”
In 2005, the department issued Administrative Order No. 25 providing for guidelines on the issuance of the GAP certification for fruits and vegetable farming. This order was revised by AO 30-2008 spelling out fees, duration of renewal of the certificate and the modular approach to certification
The DA likewise issued AO 30-2012 setting the procedure of securing the GAP certification starting from the DA Regional Office until it reaches the DA Secretary.
The Philippine GAP has four modules: Food Safety; Produce Quality; Environmental Management; and Workers Health, Welfare, and Safety
According to Weygan-Allan, there is a need for the local government to formulate and implement proper guidelines to include the said GAP modules particularly for fruits and vegetables.
During the 1st GAP Summit held at the BSU Compound, La Trinidad, Benguet on November 19, 2020, the DA-CAR urged farmers to apply for the GAP certification.
Atty. Jennilyn M. Dawayan, Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulations, announced that there are 140 GAP certified farms in the region and that this number is expected to increase for the coming years
“We are encouraging every farmer of the region to be GAP certified for it has a lot of benefits for everyone,” Dawayan said.
Weygan-Allan, together with Councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales, also passed a separate resolution this week encouraging youth organizations in the city to initiate and network with partners in developing innovative, transformative, and futuristic designs that integrate agriculture into urban setting.
In the past couple of years, the city council has approved several resolutions and ordinances in support of the agriculture sector and the expansion of urban gardening in the city. -Jordan G. Habbiling