BAUKO, Mountain Province – Organizations of agriculture industry stakeholders must guarantee that their members are strictly adhering to the standards of good agricultural practices (GAP) in order to make locally produced agricultural crops competitive in the global market, especially with the full implementation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) free trade agreement by the end of this year, Mayor Abraham B. Akilit said here recently.
The local chief executive said that for farmers to be able to master their compliance to GAP, there should be proper monitoring done by the concerned associations and the agriculture department so that they will be able to put to practice important practices to make their produce complaint to the prevailing standards.
“Our farmers need to be closely monitored so that whatever lapses they commit will be immediately checked by those assigned by the organizations to look over their production of agricultural crops. We cannot immediately perfect GAP in just one sitting,” Akilit stressed.
He likened the GAP implementation to a sports even where the farmers need to have round the clock coaches who will be the ones to check on how they do the GAP so that their mistakes will be immediately corrected for them not to commit similar mistakes in future production activities.
The municipal mayor cited it will take sometime for the farmers to be able to adjust to the stringent requirements of the GAP but with the able assistance of experts to monitor their planting activities, then they will be able to adjust to the situation after one or two cropping seasons, thus, their produce will be able to be GAP complaint and could be sold in different markets within the ASEAN member countries.
He pointed out that it is the duty of the organization to provide its members with sufficient guidance in complying with the GAP by designating well-trained individuals who will be able to guide the farmers through the cropping season until such time that they will be able to comply with the pertinent GAP requirements.
One of the major requirements for local agriculture products to be able to be accommodated in the ASEAN member countries is that the crops must be produced by GAP certified farmers.
He encouraged farmers from the different vegetable-producing communities in the Cordillera to wilfully embrace GAP the soonest and to subject themselves to the required steps towards securing the necessary certification as GAP complaint in order to open added market opportunities for locally produced vegetables.
By Dexter A. See