MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law amending Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 to make certification of organic produce by farmers and fishermen more accessible and affordable.
R.A. 11511 establishes a Participatory Guarantee System (PGS), which refers to a locally-focused quality assurance system that is developed and practiced by people actually engaged in organic agriculture.
It is built on a foundation of trust, social network, and knowledge exchange and used to certify producers and farmers as actual and active practitioners of organic agriculture.
The law also creates the National Organic Agriculture Program-National Program Coordinating Office (NOAP-NPCO) to manage the effective implementation of the National Organic Agriculture Program.
It will be in charge of the planning and administrative secretariat of the NOAB and as the coordinating office of the program.
The new law also restructures, strengthens, and empowers the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS), which will provide technical assistance to the NOAB and the NOAP-NPCO.
The BAFS will also be tasked to formulate and update standards relevant to organic agriculture; issue accreditation to Organic Certifying Bodies; conduct inspections on compliance of Participatory Guarantee system groups with the Philippine National Standards for organic agriculture and publish at least once a year the list of compliant PGS groups.
It will also issue a registration of organic inputs, such as organic soil amendments and organic bio-control agents; issue registration of integrated organic farms with multiple commodities/production and of organic input producers among other functions, duties, and responsibilities.
Under the law, the NOAB must adopt rules and regulations to implement the provisions of the Act within 90 days from its effectivity.
In drafting the implementing rules and regulations, the Department of Finance must be consulted in connection with the tax incentive.
Duterte signed the law last December 23. (Azer Parrocha, PNA, January 5, 2021)