Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) is an approach to reduce the risk of contamination during on-farm production and post-production processes. It addresses 1) Environmental Protection and Management; 2) Food Safety; 3) People’s Health, Safety & Welfare; and, 4) Product Quality.
The Cordillera office of the Department of Agriculture (DA–CAR) through the High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) conducts training on GAP targeting major commodities which are vegetables (upland, lowland, Spices, and indigenous); industrial crops (coffee and cacao); fruits (mango, banana and strawberry) and alternative staple food (banana-saba, adlai, soybean, legumes, etc.). Based on informal training needs assessment conducted, there are still farmers, women, youth, senior citizen and persons with disability (PWD) who lack knowledge and skills on GAP.
GAP training were conducted since 2015 and agencies by DA–CAR, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), including municipal governments, to farmers and PWDs in the region.
According to Remy Lawingan, HVCDP technical staff from DA-CAR, the Provincial Agriculturist of Mountain Province always questions them for conducting GAP training yet among the 10 applicants, there is still no GAP Certified Farm in the province.
There are a total of 10 GAP applicants from Mountain Province alone. These farms are Albert Langbayan Farm in Sagada, Green Salad Farm of Jonie Calawa, Palayen Farm, Alonzo Calias Farm, Ashley Sili’s Farm, Christopher Tami-ing’s Farm, Donald Mapangdol Nursery/ Farm, Benjamin Pinos-an, Nila P. Dulagan and Augosto Papsa-ao Farm.
This is the challenge for Cristeta Gamonnac, the GAP Focal of Mountain Province who said that the Langbayan Farm and Green Salad Farm certification are still pending at the Office of the DA Secretary.
The absence of GAP certified farm that is successfully operating in the province is proving to be a hindrance to other farmers and successful GAP farmers could encourage others to follow suit.
Another challenge in the implementation of GAP in the Mountain Province is that most of the participants expect financial assistance from the government to set-up necessary structures or facilities required in GAP farming. Pursuing GAP is voluntary for farmers who wish to improve their farming practices to be able to compete in the global market.
The question raised of the difference between GAP Certified produce with non-GAP was raised and according to Rolando Bragado, Supervising Agriculturist from OPAG- Mountain Province, the market for GAP Certified Farms will not be a problem. The government, through the DA, conducts massive information dissemination of GAP because of ASEAN integration where GAP Certified products will be in demand.
“Ibagayo no sinoy i-iyat mi ta ma-certify kami (Tell us what to do for us to be certified)” said Teresita Gauken, one of the vegetable farmer in Bauko.
By Karen T. Gawigawen