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Through the certification subsidy provided by the government, four (5) organic farmer organizations and 15 farmer individuals assisted by the Organic Agriculture Program (OAP) of the Department of Agriculture were certified by the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP).

The five organic organizations awarded were Bauko Organic Practitioners Association (BOPA), Tublay Organic Practitioners Farmers Association (TOPFA), La Trinidad Organic Farmers Association (La Organica), La Trinidad Organic Practioners Multi Purpose Cooperative (LaTop MPC) and Barangay Loakan Organic Farmers Association (BLOFA).

“Naragsak kami ken dakkel ti iyaman mi, ta iti baet ti adu nga rigat ken puyat mi tapnu makompleto mi dagiti kasapulan a documento tapnu ma certify kami ket nagbunga iti nasayaat” (We are happy and very much grateful because all our efforts and hardships in completing the documents needed were paid off) said Nora Caligtan, President of BOPA.

Lilibeth Paraoan, Organic Agriculture Program Focal Person, awarded the certificates and encouraged the farmers to continue what they have started; and, to follow the practices of organic farming. Having gone through the process, it is expected that in so the next inspection it will be easier for the farmers, compared to their struggles from the start.

Leilani Ramona Limpin, OCCP President said that among the problems affecting the farmers when applying for certification is the non-compliance of their farm activity records and the total land area. Most of the upland vegetable area cannot meet the minimum requirement which is 1500 square meters. So, she said that the opportunity of small farmers is to organize themselves and apply for group certification.

“Organic agriculture is a value changing culture, you have to change everything in your farming system for you to embrace the whole concept of organic farming” she added.//Leny Mendoza