BACOLOD CITY – The minimum P15,000 certification fee is unaffordable to the average Filipino farmer who wants to shift to organic farming, senatorial candidate Francis Pangilinan said here in the organic farming capital of the Philippines.
The former Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization called for increased budget to agriculture so that the certification process can be assumed by the government and provided to the public cost-free.
While the present law allows government to subsidize the certification fees and training of small farmers and indigenous groups interested in selling their organic farm produce locally, this is not too widely known, Pangilinan said.
“I urge farmers with small plots of land who want to go into organic farming to avail themselves of this subsidy,” said Pangilinan, who himself grows organic fruits and vegetables.
Republic Act 10068 or Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 seeks to promote organic farming in the country by extending incentives for the production and propagation of organic farm inputs.
Certification is important for the consumers who want to be assured that the food they are buying and eating are indeed grown in an environment-friendly way and are free of insecticides and chemical fertilizers.
For products intended for export, subsidy is given only to micro, small, and medium scale enterprises, indigenous people, and agrarian reform beneficiaries.
As of January 26, 2016, there are 46 third-party certified organic farms and establishments in the Philippines.