In joint collaboration with the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) implemented an e-learning course on Production and Certification of Organic Food for Greater Market to acquaint participants with regulatory requirements and established standards for packaging and labeling of organic agrifood products, and analyze how such requirements could affect the marketing of and trade of organic products. The four-day course that commenced on September 29 to October 2, 2014 was attended by a total of 13 participants from the industry, academe, government and NGO sectors.
The project was in response to the increasing popularity of organic food in many countries including the Philippines. To protect consumers against deception and fraud, various governments and industry groups have promulgated regulations and established organic food labeling standards and organic certification systems. However the range of standards for organic food and the man labels can be confusing for most consumers and producers who would like their products to reach the market shelves as well as export to various countries. Currently there are hundreds of private organic standards worldwide; and more than 60 governments have codified their standards in national regulations.
The project’s topic included the private sector equivalent of Codex Alimentarius guidelines in International Basic Standards for Organic Production and Processing. Through this workshop, various stakeholders involved in organic promotion, farming/production, handling and marketing had deepened their knowledge and understanding of the broader issues in organic agrifood certification standards.
To get an overview and additional information on current situation and practices of organic agriculture in the country, the participants visited a certified organic farm, Costales Nature Farms located in Majayjay, Laguna. They were able to observe and document farm best practices through orientation and a guided tour of the premises. Interactions with farm personnel also took place that further enriched their knowledge on organic agriculture.