Ensuring food safety is one of the mandates of the Department of Agriculture.

Food safety and regulation are also among the 18 strategies of the DA under the One DA Reform Agenda aimed to mitigate the effects of plant and animal diseases by “building up traceability systems and unifying sanitary and phytosanitary control measures against plant and animal epidemics”.

In support of this agenda, the Regulatory Division is aggressively implementing the Good Agricultural Practice Certification Program. Assistance is being provided to farmers who opt to comply with and adapt to this set of practices to ensure not only food safety but also the quality of agricultural products while keeping high regard for environmental protection and workers’ health, safety and welfare.

Recently, the DA Bicol Regulatory Division has approved and endorsed to the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), the applications of five new farms applying for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Certification (GAP) following a series of on-site national PhilGAP inspections. These five farms are all located in Ragay, Camarines Sur: ARNZY Integrated Farm in Bgy. GRS; Umali Dragon Fruit Farm in Bgy. GRS; Agri- Guro Integrated Farm also in Bgy. GRS; Yungib Integrated Farm in Banga Elem. School; and LES Integrated Farm in Bgy. Liboro.

Meanwhile, six farms have successfully renewed their GAP certification. These are NVAC (Naga View Adventist College) in Bgy. Panicuason, Naga City; Labo Progressive Multi-purpose Coop in Brgy. Malasugui, Labo, Camarines Norte; Cerilo’s Farm and VKs Farm in Bgy. Libod, Tigaon, Camarines Sur; Mauswag Agribusiness Inc. in Bgy. Curry, Pili, Camarines Sur; and Mikeliz Integrated Farm in Brgy. Bigaas, Calabanga, Camarines Sur.Rosita Imperial, chief of the Regulatory Division said that these 11 farms have passed the national inspection, and awaiting the GAP certificate to be issued by the Bureau of Plant Industry. With the approval of their certification, the number of GAP-certified farms in Bicol will climb to 33. In Albay, there are five GAP certified farms; two in Camarines Norte; 21 in Camarines Sur; 1 in Sorsogon; and 4 in Masbate.

The PHILGAP on-site validation was conducted in the provinces of Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte on September 7-15, 2021 by the combined teams from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and DA 5. From the BPI, the PHILGAP inspectors assigned at the NSQCS were Evelyn C. Bueza and Sonia L. Manas; from the DA Regulatory Division Edith Pelin, who is also a regional and national inspector, served as PHILGAP Secretariat. Pelin was assisted by Helen Jovillano, Gizel Flores, Jay Ar Baldoza, Clarenz Sabio and Joseph Penaverde. Also with the PhilGAP team was Arlene San Buenaventura of the Research Division.

PhilGAP Certification and Nursery Accreditation are open to individual nurseries, farms owned by corporations or associations, government nurseries, and nurseries or vegetable gardens managed by academic and research Institution.

Application for GAP certification is free of charge and renewable every two years. (Lovella P. Guarin – DA RAFIS 5) (Photo credits: Lovella Guarin, Evelyn Bueza, Gizel Florez and Jay Ar Baldoza)