June 23, 2024

Councilor Philian Weygan-Allan is encouraging the city’s gardeners and farmers to apply for a Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) certification from the Department of Agriculture.

Under Resolution 173 s. 2021 approved by the council on April 5, Weygan-Allan said the GAP certification program is promoted and facilitated by the DA Regulatory Division to ensure food safety and assure quality of agricultural products while keeping high regard for environmental protection and that of workers’ health, safety, and welfare.

The Food Safety Act of 2003 defines GAP as “practices that address environmental, economic, and social sustainability for on-farm processes, and which result in safe and quality food and non-food agricultural products.”

In its website, the DA said GAP is also aimed at facilitating access of Philippine agricultural crops to neighboring ASEAN and other foreign markets.

In 2005, the DA issued Administrative Order 25 providing for guidelines on the issuance of the GAP certification for fruits and vegetable farming. The order was revised by AO 30-2008 spelling out fees, duration of renewal of the certificate, and the modular approach to certification.

The DA also issued AO 30-2012 setting the procedure of securing the GAP certification from the DA regional office up to the DA Secretary.

The Philippine GAP has four modules: food safety; produce quality; environmental management; and workers’ health, welfare, and safety.

Weygan-Allan said there is a need for the local government to formulate and implement proper guidelines to include the GAP modules particularly for fruits and vegetables.

During the 1st GAP summit in La Trinidad, Benguet last year, the DA-CAR urged farmers to apply for the GAP certification.

DA Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulations, Atty. Jennilyn M. Dawayan, said there are 140 GAP certified farms in the region, which is expected to increase.

“We are encouraging every farmer of the region to be GAP certified for it has a lot of benefits for everyone,” Dawayan said.

Weygan-Allan, with Councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales, also submitted a separate resolution last week encouraging youth organizations in the city to initiate and network with partners in developing innovative, transformative, and futuristic designs that integrate agriculture into urban setting.

The city council approved several resolutions and ordinances in support of the agriculture sector and the expansion of urban gardening in the city in the past two years. – Jordan G. Habbiling