LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Several Benguet Farmers are now adopting the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) method in producing high value crops to be able to compete in the Asean Free Trade Area (AFTA) agreement.
Professor Carlito Laurean the director of Climate Smart Agriculture Center of Benguet State University disclosed that farmers in the province of Benguet are now becoming receptive on the benefits of GAP with regards to health and environment.
“With the series of seminars being conducted, farmers realize the bad effect of chemical inputs like the use of pesticide”. Laurean explained.
He said that GAP method of farming includes the use of resistant varieties of plants and it reduces the use of chemical farm inputs to 50 percent, this includes pesticides and inorganic fertilizers.
Laurean described that GAP method is the first step that farmers must adopt before embarking into full scale organic farming.
“The GAP method is a transition to successful organic farming.” Laurean added.
There are already 80 farmers from Bugiuas and La Trinidad who availed of the free seminars on GAP being conducted by BSU and the Municipal Agricultural Offices of concern LGU’s and around 40 farmers are scheduled to undergo GAP Seminar in the municipality of Atok.
In the Cordillera region there are only two certified GAP demo farms located in the province of Benguet particularly in municipality of Tublay, the Sotero farm of barangay Daclan and Faustino Farm at sitio nalseb.
La Trinidad Municipal Agriculturist Melchor Lando revealed that entire the Philippines there are only 15 GAP certified farms including the two from Tublay.
“In La Trinidad there are 10 GAP compliant farmers and several farmers also wanted to be recognized as practicing GAP farming method but they must be first inspected if they are compliant with the standard.” Lando added.
The ASEAN integration post a challenge to all farmers to level up their farming standard from production to packaging to be able to compete in the international market. JOSEPH B. MANZANO