By Vishia Mae Dominic J. Tolcidas
Regional Applied Communications
FITS OPA Negros Occidental
Products of 17 companies, smallholder groups and individuals have been labeled “certified organic” by the Negros Island Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (NISARD) Certification Services, making their products more cost-efficient and command a higher price in both local and international organic markets.
Robert Gasparillo, Organic Guarantee Officer of the NISARD Certification (NICERT) Services, said these organic products include fertilizers, vegetables, herbs, fruits, grains, coffee, sugarcane, meat, poultry, and aquaculture. It also covers the production, processing and distribution of these products, he added.
Producers that have undergone NICERT organic certification are Fresh Start General Merchandising in Silay and Sagay City; Buro-buro Springs Vermi Farms in Talisay City; Dublin Bio-Industries in Cebu City; Sag-ang Organic Coffee Producers Association (SOCPA) in La Castellana; La Carlota Organic Coffee Producers Association (LACOCPA) in La Carlota City; Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc. (AIDFI) in Cauayan; Organic Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (OF-MPC), Humayan Ministry Negros, and Tabunan Organic Farm in Bago City; Iliranan Tribal Council in San Carlos City; Josefina Ledesma of Hinigaran; Kent Javelosa, Joseph Edgar Sarrosa, and Alfredo Marañon of Sagay City, Ramon Peñalosa of Victorias City and Manapla; Winnie Albarillo of Bago City; and Merco Obas of San Carlos City. Of the total NICERT certified producers, 327 are small farmers belonging to smallholder groups, Gasparillo said.
NICERT addresses the growing needs of producers to protect consumers from falsely-claimed organic products, Gasparillo said. He added that NICERT assists clients in the technology transfer and promotion of their certified products.
NICERT is a local independent organic guarantee system that is tailored fit to the unique conditions of the island but globally competitive. It follows the strict standards set by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), ISO 65, and the Philippine National Standards on Organic Agriculture. It was established in 2007 and became fully operational in January 2009. The Organic Inspectors’ Association of Negros Island (OIA-NI) was organized to handle inspection work of various products for organic certification.
Sustainable development initiatives like organic certification are geared towards making Negros Island the “Organic Food Basket of Asia.