August 27, 2021. The Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS) successfully had its latest edition of Focused Group Orientation (FGO) on Participatory Guarantee System (PGS), hosted by the DA Regional Field Office (DA RFO) XIII at the VCDU Prince Hotel, Butuan City on Monday, August 23, 2021.
Aiming to ensure a uniform understanding of PGS in Organic Agriculture, the FGO was attended by the key personnel from the concerned operating units of DA RFO XIII led by RED Abel James Monteagudo (Regulatory Division, Organic Agriculture, and Special Area for Agricultural Development or SAAD), ARD Edgardo Balambao of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Regional Office XIII, and the Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center (ATI-RTC) XIII represented by Ms. Elena Madelo.
The host office, through RED Abel James Monteagudo, welcomed the BAFS team and the participants with a warm tone.
BAFS Director Myer Mula emphasized the importance of PGS in easing the organic certification process for small farmers and fisherfolks. Also as the SAAD National Program Director, Dr. Mula added that the beneficiaries of SAAD projects have the potential to venture into organic agriculture under the PGS scheme.
Ms. Joeve Calleja of BAFS-OAD led the overall program proper by starting with the rationale of the activity, followed by a series of video presentations on the mandates of the Bureau, overview of the PGS, and Philippine PGS Guaranteed Organic Mark. Afterwards, Mr. John Lawrence Arrogante discussed the process of certification and accreditation of core PGS groups as organic certifying bodies.
During the open forum, the discussions revolved on the traceability of PGS-certified products, the grant of legal personality to the PGS group, the role of DA in the roll-out of PGS in Caraga Region, institutionalization of BAFS at the regional level, as well as the implications of Mandanas ruling in the implementation of PGS.
The FGO was followed by field visits to SAAD Projects in the municipalities of Bayabas and Tago in Surigao del Sur and municipalities of Talacogon and San Luis in Agusan del Sur on August 24-25. Discussion with the farmer associations and with the concerned Local Chief Executives during courtesy calls involved the introduction of PGS. It’s for a fact that these farmer-beneficiaries have the potential to consolidate into PGS groups in the future. ###