September 29, 2021. Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William D. Dar designated the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS) Coordinator and Focal Groups in the regions on September 24, 2021, through DA Special Order No. 712 Series of 2021. This is in accordance with Department Order No. 2 series 2021, which aims to strengthen the coordination mechanisms between BAFS and DA-Regional Field Offices (RFOs) in the areas of standards development, promotion, and adoption, as well as organic agriculture regulations at the regional and local levels.
Following the three (3) BAFS major functions, the designation consists of a BAFS Regional Coordinator and three (3) Regional Focal Groups (RFG) per region. These BAFS RFGs will focus on standards development and research, standards promotion and adoption, and organic agriculture regulations.
In 2005, the Bureau first initiated the creation of the Regional Focal Persons through issuance of a Special Order, which was subjected to regular and constant annual updating, resulting in lack of continuity of operations at the regional and local levels, and frequent retooling of the focal persons. Nevertheless, the collaboration with the Regional Focal Persons have notable accomplishments:
- Successful conduct of public consultations for standards development, training information dissemination campaigns, and monitoring activities;
- Field sampling and generation of data for microbiological and chemical contamination of select crops;
- Establishment of Regional Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Regional Good Animal Husbandry Practices (GAHP) Teams; and
- Establishment of Regional Post Market Surveillance Teams for organic agriculture products sold at local markets.
With this new and stronger collaboration mechanism and defined terms of reference, a more efficient and effective work arrangement between BAFS and DA-RFOs is expected to unfold. ###