The Department of Agriculture Bicol is promoting good agricultural practices to ensure food safety and assure quality produce of crops while keeping high regard for environmental protection. In line with this, there is a need to educate the local farmers about Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to support the advocacy. Thus, the Department of Agriculture Bicol through the Corn Program headed by Lorenzo Alvina, Regional Corn Program Coordinator, conducted an orientation training on GAP for cassava and corn recently held at the DA compound.

Some 30 selected farmers from the municipalities of Sangay, Libmanan, Lupi, Pili, Iriga, Buhi and Baao Camarines Sur attended said training and learned what GAP is all about. Topics discussed for Cassava were: Cassava Production and Processing; Primary Production; Code of Hygienic Practices: Handling, Storage, and Transport. For Corn: Corn Seed Selection: Proper Application of Fertilizer and Pesticides; Facility & Equipment Maintenance and GAP guidelines.
Speakers were: Ailene Babilonia, Corn Prog staff, Agricultural Technologists Jerry Mercado, Honesto Sirios Jr. and Noel Manaog . These ATs were all national awardees.

Babilonia, who is currently designated as Corn and Cassava technical staff explained the importance of applying for a GAP certification to facilitate access of our agricultural crops to other ASEAN markets. Aside from assuring quality and safe produce to consumers, the health and welfare of the workers involved are also considered.

Series of related trainings are also scheduled to be conducted in other provinces throughout the year.
According to DA Administrative circular no. 10 series of 2013 paragraph 1, the Philippines as a member of the ASEAN, is committed to the implementation of the Strategic Plan of Action on ASEAN Cooperation on Good Agricultural Practices ( SPA ASEAN GAP) 2009-2012 which compels the ASEAN Member States (AMSs) to align their national Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) program (standard, certification procedures, training of inspectors, etc.) with the adapted regional standard on GAP. (B. Nunez)