Small farmers will benefit from producing cheap organic products due to a more affordable system of organic certification under a proposed measure to amend RA 10068, or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010, Senator Cynthia Villar said Friday.
Villar, head of the Committee on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform and principal sponsor of the bill, said exorbitant costs prevent small farmers from practicing organic farming. She said this also makes organic products expensive for many Filipinos.
The Senate has ratified the committee report on the bill amending RA 10068, which would make certification for organic produce cheaper and more accessible.
Also, the bicameral conference committee has reconciled the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill 1318 and House Bill 6878.
Villar said RA No. 10068 requires the certification of the organic farms of small farmers by a third-party certifier to facilitate labeling and the marketing of the products to markets.
But the third-party certification amounting to up to more than P100,000 per crop per year “creates a very big barrier for small farmers to overcome.”
Under the recommended bill, Villar said, PGS certification will only cost farmers P600 to P2,000.
She said organic farming is now widely adhered to and accepted by international organic movements, such as the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement.
“Aside from environmental protection, increased farmer profitability is also a great motivation to promote and develop the organic industry,” she said.
Organic farming promotes the use of natural and farm-based resources and inputs like organic fertilizers, which would yield to less input costs on the part of the farmers.
Villar has been promoting the composting of kitchen and garden waste into organic fertilizers so that instead of buying, farmers can produce fertilizers out of waste.
She said she really advocates for a more affordable system of organic certification for the benefit of small farmers.
Without them [small farmers], who constitute a big chunk of the farming sector, Villar said, organic farming in the country will not really develop.