The Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) is a motivation to promote and develop the organic industry and a great help to small farmers producing organic products who cannot afford the expensive Third Party Certification, stressed Sen. Cynthia A. Villar.
During the Grand Launch of PGS, Villar, chairperson of the Senate Agriculture and Food committee, said PGS is a low-cost guaranty system compared to Third Party Certification. It makes accessible and cheaper certification cost for organic produce.
“The PGS will cost not more than P2,000 per year per certification compared to the Third Party Certification of P150,000 per year,” noted Villar.
Saying more Filipinos should have access to healthy and safe farm products, Villar has pushed for a system of organic products certification which small farmers can also afford.
Aside from environmental protection, she said PGS promotes the use of natural and farm-based resources and inputs like organic fertilizer, which would yield to less input cost on the part of the farmers. “This means increased farmer profitability.”
A locally focussed quality assurance system developed and practiced by people engaged in organic organic agriculture , Villar said PGS empowers organizations and its members particularly the farmers and fisherfolk including the consumers.
The system also acknowledges the involvement of other sectors in the community as an integral part not only in verifying the integrity of the produce and products but also in providing the needed technical assistance for continual improvement of the system.
Villar has also been encouraging all the stakeholders in the agriculture sector to continue their initiatives to advance the National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP), which has firmed up the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 or RA 10068. It makes organic agriculture in the Philippines a competitive and sustainable industry.
The lady senator said the Organic Agriculture Act, a milestone legislation, has been considered to be one of the priority programs of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“It is a major strategy for addressing rural poverty through low-input sustainable agricultural techniques that improve land productivity while protecting the environment,” said Villar.
Through the years, she related that the Organic Agriculture Act and the implementation of the NOAP have boosted the local organic market and benefited producers and consumers. However, she admitted NOAP’s objectives have not been fully realized due to the limitations and restrictive provisions of the Law.
RA 11511 or An Act Amending the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, signed on December 23, 2020, aims to institutionalize the PGS as an organic certification scheme.
In addition, the RA 11511 further strengthens the institutional arrangements for policy-making and implementation from the national to the local-level – through the increased representations of non-government organization(s) in the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB). It also allocate budget for local organic agriculture program among others; and increase annual budget allocation of the NOAP to P1 billion.