BAGUIO CITY – With around 200 participating farmers in the Cordillera, the Cordillera office of the Department of Agriculture kicked-off its 3rd Regional Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Summit at the Carlos P. Romulo Hall, Teacher’s Camp, Baguio City on November 9, 2022.
Themed “GAP for Economic, Social and Environmental Sustainability,” the Summit seeks to continuously promote the importance of GAP in ensuring food safety and assuring product quality while keeping high regard for environmental protection and that of workers’ health, safety, and welfare. This summit looks into the status of GAP in the country and in the region, review current and updated policies and regulations on GAP, looks on how to address the potential and current challenges on GAP, learn from different case studies presented on financing and business models, find partners, business matching and local investment opportunities, and ways forward.
DA Regional Executive Director Cameron P. Odsey said that the Cordillera region champions the number of GAP certified farms nationwide. As of November 8, 2022, there are 367 certified GAP farms in the region out of the 822 recorded GAP farms nationwide.
“Indeed we came a long way. This GAP is very significant because it has regulated policies and practices that would help improve the farming practices of our farmers in the region. This summit is also part of the commitment of the Philippine Government to facilitate access of Philippine agricultural crops to neighboring ASEAN and other foreign markets,” he underscored.
Odsey looks forward for this opportunity to share experiences, good practices, and learn new things in order to solve and improve our farming practices to be able to produce quality and safe vegetables for the consumers and the farmers themselves.
Moreover, Dr. Silardo B. Bested who represented Baguio City Mayor Hon. Benjamin B. Magalong shared that with the fast growing population in the country, the biggest challenge now is how to feed the people with safe and healthy food. Accordingly, this concern is a shared responsibility among all the government agencies, private sectors, and also the farmers.
“Through GAP, we can assure that the food is safe, the produce is quality, our environment is not harmed, and our farmers will be protected against hazards,” he shared. Hence, Dr. Bested encouraged the participants to apply all their learnings from the Summit.
Meanwhile, Keynote Speaker Dr. Herminigilda A. Gabertan, OIC-Asst. Director of the DA-Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), challenged the participants to be the ‘channel of change’ especially with the climate change that the world is experiencing today. She also encouraged them to put into practice responsible farming especially in the highlands for these have effects in the lowlands and eventually to the bodies of water.
Gabertan also acknowledged the efforts of the farmers in embracing GAP. “I really want to congratulate you for being part of the solution. Let’s be together on this. Let’s be partners. We need one another to continuously provide healthy, safe, and quality food,” she remarked.
The GAP Summit runs until Nov. 11, 2022 with a Farmers’ Market showcasing the different agricultural produce from the participants’ GAP-Certified farms. The produce include leafy vegetables, root crops, fruits, and processed products. Farm inputs such as insecticides, quality seeds, plastic crates, among others, are also being sold in the venue.
Throughout the three-day activity, there will be presentations on market channels and business models researches, marketing strategies, entrepreneurial mind setting, technical briefing about GAP and its related concepts, digital payment and online banking, and values and leadership training. Open forums are also included to explore arising issues and concerns to better set the path for GAP in the region.
Present in the activity are David Cabuten representing Benguet Governor Melchor Diclas, Benguet Board Member Ruben Paoad, key representatives from the DA-BPI, Benguet State University, University of the Philippines Los Banos- Foundation Incorporated, and GAP farmers from the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mt. Province and Baguio City. By LDMendoza