DA-4A, OCCP certify 3 organic farms in Cavite, Quezon

The Department of Agriculture Region IV-CALABARZON (DA-4A) and the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP) certified three organic farms, namely, Cortijo de Palsabangon Farm in Pagbilao, Quezon; Santuario Nature Farms in Indang, Cavite; and Luntiang Republika EcoFarms in Alfonso, Cavite.

The newly certified farms were assisted by the DA-4A’s Organic Agriculture Program by shouldering the cost of the certification fees and by providing technical assistance through its Regional Pre-Assessment Team in ensuring compliance to production system, area, and product standards relevant to crop production leading to certification.

Becoming certified organic helps producers receive premium prices for their products, market products to consumers, and access fast-growing local, regional, and international markets, among others.

Mr. Eduardo Cleofe of Luntiang Republika said, “We are elated to have been given an OCCP organic certification. This was realized through the unwavering support from the Department of Agriculture 4A. This will pave the way for our organic products to be fully positioned in the market based on the existing organic standards. All to the benefit of the farmers and the consumers.”

On the other hand, according to Regional Organic Agriculture Program Focal Person Ms. Eda F. Dimapilis, the regional office continues to promote organic agriculture and to look, identify, and help organic farms to increase the numbers of certified farms and so that more and more farmers can see the advantages of the same.

“We are confident that more organic farms will be certified in CALABARZON,” Ms. Dimapilis assured. # # # (Radel F. Llagas, DA-4A RAFIS/ Photo: Arn Gonzales)

DA-CAR pushes standardization of the Cordillera heirloom rice

Heirloom rice is the ‘pride’ that ensembles the indigenous peoples’ heritage that contributes to income and livelihood, especially in the Cordillera.

To improve and sustain the quality production of Cordillera heirloom rice, a stakeholders’ consultation on the Philippine National Standard (PNS) for Production of Traditional Rice Varieties (Heirloom Rice) was conducted on March 2021.

The said activity was participated by the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera (DA-CAR) and its attached agencies together with the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS), concerned Local Government Units (LGUs), and the heirloom rice farmers. This is to draw out suggestions on the development of PNS on Heirloom Rice and to discuss and ensure the protection of the cultural heritage of heirloom rice in the region.

According to BAFS, the PNS aims to provide a common understanding on the scope of the standard, product description, quality factors, contaminants, hygiene and handling, labelling, and the marketing requirements in relation to food safety.

Ruben Dulagan, Chief of Regulatory Division said that the consultation was part of the data gathering to enhance the production of standards for organically grown traditional rice varieties (heirloom rice) not only in the region but for the whole country.

Moreover, the data from the results of the department’s heirloom rice project entitled, “Heirloom Rice Conservation and Characterization” and “Development of Production and Post-production Technologies” was also used to develop heirloom rice PNS. This study was conducted in the provinces producing heirloom rice namely, Benguet, Kalinga, Ifugao, and Mountain Province prior to the said consultation.

Enrique Atelba, Municipal Agriculturist of Bakun, Benguet hoped that the consultation is an avenue to enrich the processing of traditional (heirloom) rice standards as a guide for the country.

Series of consultations were conducted among the provinces of the region: Kalinga (March 10, 2021); Ifugao (March 11, 2021); Mountain Province (March 17, 2021); and Benguet (March 18, 2021). # # # (DA-RFO CAR, RAFIS)

Farming, fishing and food value chain activities continue under extended ECQ

With the extension of the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and adjoining four provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna, up to April 11, the Department of Agriculture (DA) assures that farming and fishing operations will continue, including related activities throughout the food value chain, to ensure the continuous supply of adequate and affordable basic food commodities to residents in the “NCR plus bubble.”

“We reiterate our appeal to the members of the PNP and respective local government units (LGUs) to allow the unhampered movement of farmers, fishers, food entrepreneurs, and food transport vehicles and personnel — who are also essential workers — so as not to unnecessarily disrupt the flow of food from the farms and fishing grounds to the markets and our dining tables,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar.

“We have instructed our respective DA regional directors to ensure the continuous delivery of surplus farm and fishery products to the ‘NCR plus bubble,’ through our farmers’ cooperatives and associations or FCAs, and through our Kadiwa outlets in partnerships with LGUs in Metro Manila and the private sector,” the DA chief added.

“In all, amid this global pandemic, we — the OneDA family — will continue to provide our farmers, fisherfolk, and other agri-fishery industry stakeholders needed technical and marketing assistance, and implement our programmed initiatives and projects under the Duterte administration’s Plant, Plant, Plant program,” secretary Dar concluded. ### (DA StratComms)