The Department of Agriculture-CAR Regional Organic Agriculture Program convened members of the La Trinidad Farmers Association (La Organica) and Barangay Loacan Organic Farmers Association (BLOFA) for the “Pre-assessment, Documentation and Workshop for Third Party certification Assistance Applicants” at the Lily of the Valley Organic Farm, Ampasit, Wangal, La Trinidad on March 12-13, 2019.

          The activity was undertaken to assist farmers complete the list of records and documents necessary to make them compliant to the certification requirements and inform them of the revised rules and procedures on the provision of certification assistance for Organic Agriculture (OA) entities.

          Wilfredo Puyao, La Organica president, shared that aside from being environment friendly, the practice of organic farming is healthy to the farmers and consumers of farm products. “The third party certification is important to us because it is another way of ensuring the safety and quality of our products within and outside the locality and even the country,” he emphasized.

          Moreover, Adelina Sina-ay of Blofa agreed that the certification will permit the organization’s products to enter high-end markets.

          On the other hand, Precil Sales, DA-CAR Agriculturist I, reiterated the major changes concerning the provision of the certification assistance. The discussion included the applicability and coverage of the assistance; the roles and responsibilities of RFOs and BFAR in processing the applications and ensuring that it is only given to qualified entities; the enumeration and expansion of the scopes for organic certification; and the certification range costs.

          “We are given the opportunity to avail of incentives from the government, thus we should make the most of it,” Sales ended. //Desiree A. Esteban BSU-DDC Intern 2019