OCCP promotes organic farming in
rganic farm product? Have it certified and give assurance to consumers.
This bit of advise comes from Leilani Limpin, Executive Director of the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP).
Leilani Limpin, OCCP Executive Director
Certified organic farm products are sold in the market at premium prices. The certification assures the consumer that the product was grown without chemical inputs and therefore safe and free from dangerous chemical pollutants.
Ms. Limpin said that as a certifying body, the OCCP sets standards for farmers to follow in the production of organic farm products. Currently, the OCCP is comprised of 19 members from the national government agencies, non-government organizations (NGOs) and individuals. OCCP operates as a non-stock and non-profit organization.
OCCP services looks into organic inspection and certification standard formulation, research, participation policy and advocacy, promotion of organic agriculture and conducting seminars on standard and certification, organic agriculture technologies and installation of Internal Control System (ICS).
The OCCP tapped various organizations such as DA-BAFPS, DA-AMAD, DTI-Kalinga, LGU Dumingag (Zamboanga del Norte), and UPLB to install ICS to farmers organizations.
Limpin reported that the most common goods requested for organic certification are: rice, wild collection of herbal crops, fresh fruits, malungay, coconut, banana, lemongrass, virgin coconut oil, cooking oil, banana chips, vinegar and muscovado.
Recent agricultural inputs applied for organic certification are organic fertilizer and vermicompost. However, only organic poultry, organic swine and organic goat were approved for organic certification.
The OCCP head also discussed the Organic Agriculture Bill (RA 10068), which included the organic agriculture program, national organic board, recognition of three types of verification, accreditation of organic CB and labeling.
“Farmers need to organize themselves and apply for group certification for small organic producers to avail of the opportunity for organic products,” said Limpin. Installing the ICS for farmers’ organization and processing companies is a big investment which needs external support.
Though small farmers cannot fully avail of the opportunities and benefits, they are still engaged in organic agriculture transactions, she added.
“Let us work together for the advancement of the organic farming industry and ensure for the integrity of certified organic products,” Limpin said.
The OCCP is accredited by the Department of Agriculture (DA) since 2004 and by various international certification bodies as partners like CERES GmbH (EU, US), Japan, ACT (IFOAMEU Equivalence), ICEA (US, UE, Canada Cosmetics), OFCD (China), and Heuksalem (Korea).
Meanwhile, OCCP’s competency is attributed to trainings and guidance from Bio Suisse (Switzerland), Bio Inspecta (Switzerland), FiBL (Switzerland), CERES GmbH (Germany), ICEA (Italy), and ACT (Thailand).//Jayson C. Berto and Jayralyn Siddayao