Villar’s Participatory Guarantee System Bill makes certification for organic produce more accessible

Senator Cynthia Villar authored Senate Bill No. 1911 or the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) Bill which provided an alternative for farmers seeking certification for quality assurance for their crops.

According to Sen. Villar, the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) would only cost Php 600.00 to Php 2,000.00 in opposed to commercial third-party services that range from Php 42,000.00 to Php 150,000.00 per crop. Farmers have reported that such price range is exorbitant and small-scale farmers find it unsustainable to pay such fees.

The proposed PGS works on the integrity of farmers and consumers who conduct the certification process themselves similar to processes done in a third-party certification.

"Aside from environmental protection, increased farmer profitability is also a great motivation to promote and develop the organic industry. It promotes the use of natural and farm-based resources and inputs like organic fertilizer, which would yield less input cost on the part of the farmers," Sen. Villar said.

International organizations and movements such as the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement and the Food and Agricultural Organization have already recognized the PGS model as a credible means for crop certification.

"PGS encourages farmers to be organic and to charge them more than hundred thousand is quite contradictory. There's a secondary advantage. It encourages farmers to organize cooperativism, aggregation of lands and farmers," the senator added.

Under the provisions of the bill, five (5) individual entities must merge as one for the application for crop certification to be filled by the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards.

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