|Philippines Regulatory Framework|
In 1996, the initial efforts of FOODWEB (an informal network formed by members of IFOAM from the Philippines who attended the 1995 IFOAM-Asia Conference in Seoul, Korea) and later those of the Organic Technical Working Committee to draft the Philippine Basic Standards for Organic Agriculture and Processing paved the way for the development of a national organic certification program. Key persons from MASIPAG, OPTA, Gratia Plena, AVDF, Center for International Trade Exhibition Mission, FOODWEB, Rizal Dairy Farms, Herbana Farms, AGTALON, PDAP, and UPLB constituted the Organic Technical Working Committee. The draft document went through a series of sub-national (Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) and national consultations and workshops and was presented during BioSearch 2000. FiBL and BioInspecta conducted training on Capability Building on Organic Certification and Inspection, which was attended by 40 key OA delegates from all over the country in December 2000. FiBL and BioInspecta also reviewed the Organic Certification Standards of the Philippines for harmonization with international standards.
In early 2001, a team of experts drafted the Manuals of Operation and Certification and Inspection. The drafts were reviewed during a workshop held in May 2001. During this workshop, the Basic Standards was renamed ‘Certification Standards of the Philippines’ and the certification body was called ‘Organic Certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP)’. The manuals were presented and the OCCP was officially launched during the National Organic Agriculture Conference held in June 2001.
In 2003, the Bureau of Agriculture, Fisheries and Product Standards took charge of standards development and accreditation of local certifying bodies in the Philippines. Recently, the Department of Agriculture has accredited OCCP as the first certifying agency for organically agricultural products in the country (SAGA, Feb 2005).
Organic agriculture policy
In December 2005, President Arroyo issued Executive Order 481 for the Promotion and Development of Organic Agriculture in the Philippines and in August 2006 the Department of Agriculture, through the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Products Standards (BAFPS), formulated and issued the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) to carry out the provisions of the said Executive Order. EO 481 hopes to establish an organic agriculture program that will adopt and develop organic product markets, the education of more and more farmers, the extension of assistance to individuals and groups who are practicing and promoting these methods, and documentation and evaluation of the programs.
The EO and its subsequent IRR are seen both as major opportunities and challenges to the organic agriculture industry. Some provisions, specifically the minimal representation of the farmers and the manner of selection of the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB) and the National Technical Committee (NTC), are seen as downsides for small farmers, as there will be limited involvement for the organic practitioners at the policy level.
The implementing rules and regulations also fail to recognize the validity of farmers’ groups doing their own internal guarantee systems. This is seen to be detrimental to the growth of the industry that is driven more by the efforts of small farmers and NGOs who cannot afford third-party certification. Furthermore; the policy on GMOs by the government is seen as undermining their sincerity in promoting organic agriculture.
annex 2: caSe StudieS
Organization and Structure of the Organic Sector
Although the organic industry is still fragmented, efforts to consolidate and strengthen the organic sector are being made, with stakeholders taking advantage of the opportunities presented by EO 481. PCARRD has just launched the Phil-Organic Website and invited the major stakeholders to make the site a databank for organic information and a link to other stakeholders. There also are NGOs with projects on the promotion of the organic industry.
The organic stakeholders, especially the development NGOs and organized groups, provide interventions in the organic chain of production, processing, marketing, and policy in terms of education, training and capacity development, technology and research, support mechanisms and services and pilot or field projects.
For instance, MASIPAG has nine farmers’ groups involved as pilots in its MASIPAG Farmers’ Guarantee System, which provides organizational and enterprise capacity-building support in addition to setting up local participatory guarantee systems. PDAP and Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) have also collaborated in bringing together industry stakeholders to develop a strategic road map, which they expect to oversee the long-term development of the industry and to serve as a platform where different sectors can collaborate.
A credit window has also been established by agricultural credit provider Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corp., together with PDAP, aimed at providing regular credit and other support mechanisms to improve organic rice farmers’ in three identified pilot sites in Agusan del Sur, Negros Occidental, and Camarines Sur.
Philippines Case Studies
|IFOAM - International Federation of Organic Agriculture | email@example.com|