Philippines: amendments to organic legislation regarding certification (IT)

01/07/2020
News

The organic sector is in the Philippines regulated by the Republic Act 10068 approved in 2010. The law has supported the growing of organic agriculture in the country. However, its section 17 only allows third party certification to be labelled as “organic”. This presents very high, unsustainable costs for small producers in the country. For this reason Masipag, a network of people, NGOs and scientists led by farmers, who works to improve the life quality of the poorest producers (and works for the sustainable use and management of biodiversity through the control by farmers of genetic and biological resources, agricultural production and associated knowledge) has launched in the past years, together with IFOAM, the proposal to develop Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) ad hoc for the context of Philippine organic agriculture. The Participatory Guarantee Systems, developed by the International Federation of Movements for Organic Agriculture, are locally oriented quality protection systems that certify producers on the basis of an active participation of all stakeholders and are based on trust basis, interdependence and exchange of knowledge. PGS represent an alternative to third party certification particularly suitable for the local economy and short supply chains: exchanges take place mainly in short circuits (maximum one intermediary) such as local or agricultural markets. In addition, they can supplement third-party certification by means of a private label, which provides additional guarantees and transparency. In the PGS context, farmers are actively engaged in the whole process of assessment, development and implementation of certification, decision-making and marketing procedures.

Masipag's proposal to include PGS in the Philippines organic law as an alternative to third-party certification, elaborated through a technical table and numerous meetings with stakeholders, was approved by the Senate. This will modify the national legislative framework, and will allow organic farmers to obtain, in addition to certification without heavy costs, also specific training for their activities. The news will certainly have a positive impact on the biodiversity and livelihoods of organic farmers in the Philippines.

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Source: Organic Without Boundaries / SINAB