Feature: GAP certification leads to advantages in the ASEAN Market

  • May 12, 2017
  • Rachel Joy Camar-Gabrido

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna, May 12 (PIA) - For ASEAN countries like Vietnam and Thailand, fresh vegetables are a big part of their daily healthy diet. According to the Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Standards (DA-BAFS), Vietnamese and Thais are always confident that the vegetables they regularly consume are safe and clean. Why? It's because most of the farms in their countries are audited to ensure compliance to clean, safe, environmentally sound agricultural practices, and are certified for it. Over a hundred thousand in each of these two countries are certified according to the DA-BAFS.

“Bakit ba kailangan ng mga magsasaka, mga farm owner, at iba pang mga stakeholder sa paggugulayan na maging sertipikado sa Good Agricultural Practices o GAP ang kanilang mga gulayan? Sapagkat sa ASEAN market kung saan kasali ang Pilipinas ay isa na itong requirement. Hindi tayo makakapag-export ng ating mga prutas at gulay kung ‘di GAP-certified ang ating mga farm. (Why do farmers, farm owners, and other stakeholders in fruit and vegetable farming need to have farms certified on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)? It is because in the ASEAN market, where the Philippines is a member, this is a requirement. We cannot export our fruits and vegetables if our farms are not GAP-certified),” DA IV-A Regulatory Division Chief Rufina S. Sanidad explained during the “Training on Code of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for Fruits and Vegetables” at Sta. Rosa, Laguna last April 18 to 20.

To adhere to the ASEAN Market standards on fruit and vegetables good agricultural practices, the DA IV-A has conducted a training which was joined by 60 farmers, farm owners, Local Government Units and other stakeholders.

Being GAP-certified means the fruits and vegetables supplied by the qualified farmers are guaranteed clean, free from microbial or chemical residue, and safe. It was tagged by the DA-BAFS through a stamp of safety and genuine freshness.

According to BAFS, a farm applying for a GAP Certification is audited in all aspects of farming, not limited to the quality of crops.

The history of the farm site and its past use are inspected; the type of its soil and its compatibility with crops and seed sources; the use of pesticides and fertilizers, whether chemical or organic; the accessibility to a clean water for irrigation and for washing crops; the procedures of harvesting and post-handling; and the health and hygiene of the farmer and handlers, among many others.

Aside from scrutiny, the GAP standard also requires systems to be set in place the following: (1) sanitary facilities, (2) safe storage areas, (3) post-harvest infrastructure, and (4) a paper trail for traceability, among others. Finally, the GAP certification is free.

Moreover, according to the South East Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (searca.org), while Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam have granted GAP certification to thousands of farms, one of their studies showed that the Philippines has only four GAP-certified farms, such as Del Monte Philippines – pineapple, Basic Necessity, Inc. – lettuce and herbs, Cardava Integrated Inland Farming – cardava banana, and Leonie Agri-Corporation – various vegetables.

“The low level of adoption can be attributed to the lack of awareness and understanding of GAP on the part of both producers and consumers, costs associated with adoption and certification, the tedious and lengthy certification process, and the lack of local demand and price premium for GAP-certified produce,” University of the Philippines (UPLB) College of Economics and Management Associate Professor Dr. Agnes T. Banzon explained. (searca.org)

Implementing activities like the “Training on Code of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for Fruits and Vegetables” which was recently conducted in CALABARZON is one of the ways to increase awareness and understanding of every stakeholder on the advantage of the GAP certification.

To keep up and be able to benefit in participating to the ASEAN market by exporting crops and products to fellow-ASEAN countries and improve the lives of the fruit and vegetable farmers, the government encourages them to apply for a GAP certification. (DA IV-A/JCG, PIA4A)


Other News

President Duterte seeks robust, comprehensive, and mutually-beneficial partnership with Russia
  • May 23, 2017
DAVAO CITY, May 23  ─ President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, May 22 left for Russia, saying that his landmark visit will emphasize the Philippines’ independent foreign policy. In his departure statement, the Chief Executive said the most anticipated visit highlights the independence of the Philippines’ foreign policy and the firm resolve to broaden the horizons of friendship and cooperation with other nations. He further noted that Russia is a country that the Philippines must work with and that there are opportunities for cooperation that cannot be ignored. “With its geogr...Read more
DOF study links infra, social investments to inclusive growth
  • May 23, 2017
MANILA, May 23 -- Quicker economic growth sets the stage for wider fiscal space through greater investments in infrastructure, conditional cash transfer (CCT) and micro-lending programs, which, in turn, accelerate poverty reduction and spell financial inclusion, according to a Department of Finance (DOF) study. This study by the DOF—its first major research paper for the year and led by Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran—noted that higher remittances by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) also foster economic inclusion because many of these remitters’ beneficiaries in the country end up...Read more
GSIS allots P143 million in emergency loan in 2 Mindanao areas
  • May 23, 2017
PASAY CITY, May 23 -- The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) is allocating P143 million in emergency loans for its active members and old-age pensioners in Jolo, Sulu and Concepcion, Misamis Occidental, which are affected by flashfloods and agricultural damages resulting from heavy rains. The application deadline for Jolo is June 3 and for Concepcion, June 9. A total of 5,051 active members who are working or residing in the calamity-declared areas, are not on leave of absence without pay, have no arrears in paying premium contributions, and have no unpaid loans for more than...Read more
Watch group finds school gardening tools laden with toxic lead
  • May 23, 2017
QUEZON CITY, May 23 -- An advocate for the prevention of childhood lead exposure alerted school authorities against the use of gardening tools that are coated with lead-containing paints. The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit environmental and health group, aired the warning following the detection of high concentrations of lead, a potent neurotoxin, in eight of 20 samples of gardening tools. The tools, which are commonly used in home, community and school gardening activities, were purchased for P20 to P65 each from general merchandise stores, hardware centers and sidewalk vendors in Mo...Read more