The Organic Agriculture Program of the DA-RFU-CAR is promoting the establishment of the Internal Control System (ICS) for interested farmers organizations in Cordillera.
According to Arlene Sagayo, OA Regional Coordinator, the Sagada Arabica Coffee Cooperative (ACC) recently established its own ICS. The cooperative conceptualized and prepared its ICS manual for Sagada Coffee making the first cooperative to do so.
Sagayo said, the ICS manual is anchored in the national ICS.
“The emerging fake Sagada Arabica Coffee being sold in the market triggers the concerned people of Sagada to act and protect the name and identity of the place as a producer of Arabica coffee. As a result, the group embraced the ICS as a solution to prevent the emergence of false Sagada Arabica Coffee and to ensure the good quality of the said coffee as well,” explained Sagayo.
Accordingly, the Internal Control System (ICS) guards the integrity of the quality of products such as vegetable, coffee, and fruits. It deals on identifying, registering, instructing growers and consumers on the requirements for organic certification and contracted to ensure compliance.
“We want to help farmers to be entrepreneurs, not just producers, Sagayo said. The creation of the manual had undergone three phases to ensure the consumers get the right product they are paying for.
Meanwhile, the created manual will then serve as the guide book of the growers and members of the Sagada Arabica Coffee growers Cooperative in the production, processing and marketing of quality Sagada Coffee. It is a compilation of standards on working instructions, policies, sanctions and forms used to maintain the ICS. Moreover, it describes the responsibilities of all handlers of the product from the farm to the market. The ICS aims to provide transparency for easier evaluation of the system.
The first phase of the project started last 2009. It includes the orientation on the standards of organic farming, background on ICS and other clarifications regarding the program that was the starting point for the SACC to come up with their manual for the quality standard of their Arabica Coffee.
The second phase, on the other hand, was conducted in 2010. In includes the formulation of the committee of the cooperatives for inspection, finance, membership, project, and marketing committee and most especially, the formulation of the manual on ICS while the third and last phase, which was recently conducted on April 24-26, initiated the completion and finalization of the project is initiated.
“Hopefully, by the next cropping season, the third certification will be conducted by Organic certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP) to SACC,” Sagayo said. To assist the coop in attaining their goal, which is to process the product until packaging, the DA-CAR will be providing the roasting facilities to produce high quality Arabica coffee. The said facilities will hopefully be given by the next cropping season next year.
Sagayo said the manual is ready for implementation and utilization of the members. “It is one of the advantages of having their own ICS is that they can set a price for their own product in accordance to its quality,” Sagayo claimed. She assured that the DA-CAR will help in implementation of organic agriculture in the region.